Category Archives: Assignments Diary: The Photograph as Document

Assignments Diary- 1. The Photograph as Document

Friday 9 October 2015

I am setting up my new blog today for Context and Narrative. I will tweek it later but at least it is set up.

I have also looked up the war images which were recommended.

Sunday 11 October 2015

Spent yesterday reading Rosler’s article and several others. Am about to set off to re-read it as it did not make a lot of sense to me. I do not understand why Universities think that students have to read these badly written complicated essays. Simplicity is so attractive. This is why I liked James Curtis article “Making Sense of Documentary Photography” so much better. I was also impressed by the OCA student, Catherine Bank’s, review of a the 2013 Thames Valley group discussion meeting.

Thursday 10 December 2015

It has been two months since I wrote up my diary. I have spent five amazing weeks backpacking around Chile. This was my second visit. After the first visit I wanted to return. The first visit involved starting in Arica in the north and traveling by bus and boat the entire length of Chile. I wanted to go back and just wander around the country staying where I wanted and moving on when I wanted. It was totally amazing. I took many  photographs and tried to use what I had learned in Part 1 of this course. On my return I had to get on with getting my material from EYV ready for assessment. This is now done and I can get on with Context and Narrative.

Friday 11 December 2015

I have been reading and researching for Project 3. I had also given a lot of thought to where I would photograph the street that interested me most. I had no doubt that Marseille would be my favourite place to do this set of images. But I was also strongly aware of what had happened in Paris during my absence. Marseille has a very distinctive North African flavour. I love it for this reason but I knew it would be on ‘tender hooks’ after the Paris massacre. Despite my reservations I wanted to use one of my favourite streets there for this assignment exercise.

I had to visit my printer anyway so I took my camera along. There was a sinister atmosphere.

My route from bus station to printer

My route from bus station to printer

This street runs all the way from Gare St Charles almost to my printer – about 2kms. It is in a fairly poor part of Marseille although not the poorest or toughest. The shops along this route are a mixture of fast food, cheap restaurants, motorbike shops, spare parts shops, sex shops, and a plethora of other outlets. The people using this boulevard are a compete mixture of the Marseillaise residents. There are the tough hoody clad youths, the veiled mothers with their children, the garage hands and every skin colour under the sun. I always walk along this route although I could take a bus. I love its’ slightly seedy atmosphere.

So camera in hand I set off. First problem – the sun was directly in my face as I left the station. I decided to try to get images of people going about their normal business. I was acutely aware that raising a camera to my eye could be mistaken for a firearm. Such is the level of nerves in this part of the world at the moment. The first thing I noticed was the lack of people. There was almost as many gendarmes as ordinary people. I had to be careful not to raise the camera near any of the men or women of the law. Female gendarmes were whizzing up and down the road on bicycles.

But I did manage to get the required number of images. I have not yet processed them but will do so today. I intend to make colour and black and white images and to use contacts in my physical learning log to see whether colour or black and white works best for each image. I do not think I will get anywhere near good enough images. My major problem was that I was too nervous to take my images close enough to the subjects. I may crop some of these.

Sunday 13 December 2015

I have been researching more street photographers and wrestling with when to use colour, and when black & white. I have sort of worked out a rule of thumb which I will try to apply to my street photography images.

  • Does the colour add anything to the image
  • Is the image a close up of a persons expression if so use B&W
  • is the image a ‘fun’ image if so try colour
  • would the use of B&W make the image look old and perhaps more authentic?
  • Is the image too cluttered with colour if so change to B&W

I have converted all my colour images, taken in Marseilles, to B&W. I have divided them into two main catagories – with or without people. Then I have divided the people images into colour and B&W.

I will now make contact sheets of each set and put them into my physical learning log where I will try to apply the above criteria. Then I will put the final choices into my Exercise.

I am also reflecting on ideas for Assignment 1: Two sides of the same story. Contrary to my normal procedure with these assignments I have looked at a couple of OCA students interpretations of the assignment. I am a little surprised that all of their work seems to take the assignment very seriously. I am tending towards the absurd. I will list some ideas

  • a murder scene involving me as victim versus me going about my normal business.
  • a restaurant kitchen versus the guests at table – although I cannot see how this could have anything to do with proving which was true – both are true.
  • a newspaper article about the finding of a two headed dog versus me doing the digital manipulation for the story.
15 December 2015

I took my first images for the murder scene this morning….. Watch this space…

Now I will get on with the research for Project 4 The Gallery Wall. I have just received John Szarowski’s book ” The Photographer’s Eye” as a birthday gift.

17 December 2015

Have sent tutor a brief outline of what I have in mind for Assignment 1. Meanwhile I will continue with ‘setting-up’ my images for my murder scene…. Found an oldish T-Shirt and made a stab wound in it and surrounded the hole with red dye.

26 December 2015

I have been sorting out my ideas for ‘Two sides of the same story’ and think I have now settled on how I want to present it.

At the same time I have been reading for Part Two: Narrative.