Summer Project and Dissertation Thoughts

The summer project we were given in uni to work on over the summer was to start researching, looking at and producing work that would see us through our final year and form our final piece, preferably in line with our dissertation which should lead on from our Literature Review that we wrote in the final term of our second year (you can read mine here ).  I wrote about snapshots and how the introduction of technologies, such as the camera phone and DSLR’s, software like Photoshop and photo-sharing (Facebook and Instagram for example) have changed how we take, manipulate and share images.  Many family photo albums have ceased to exist once film cameras have been replaced by digital capture devices, instead these images remain stored as digital data on computers and discs, a selection being uploaded to be shared with friends on social networking sites. 

With this train of thought going on, I have started to turn my attention to the actual images we share.  With software such as Photoshop becoming more affordable and easy to use we can manipulate images we take , never having to share a bad photo again.  I have noticed that many of my friends now go through their images with a fine tooth comb, editing sometimes to the same degree that an advertising image may be edited, before sharing.  Gone are the photos of us with less than perfect skin/teeth/hair etc, as to are the badly framed images where peoples heads are not in the shot, blurry images and those “happy accidents” where the camera has miss-fired and captured something we didn’t mean to capture.  Much of this is down to the image taking capabilities and the method of shooting.  With film cameras we did not have the means to review an image straight away, and the cost meant we couldn’t take images one after the other after the other like we can now.  With film, people were limited to 24 or 36 shots per roll (35mm film) and depending on how much film you could afford to purchase and then pay to get developed, now with digital image taking you are only limited by how many images you can fit onto a memory card or the battery life of your camera.

Anyway, back to images we share, which I’m thinking is where I am going to be focusing my energy for this project and dissertation work…

rene not a pipe

 

I keep seeing this image (above,The Treachery of Images (This is not a pipe) by Rene Magritte) and I am beginning to form links with images we see today.  (Rene Magritte was a surrealist painter from Belgium who lived between 1898 and 1967, the image is currently on display in LA County Museum of Art) .  The image makes us question our relationship to images, this is a pipe, but it’s not a pipe, it is not the actual object but a representation of that object.  In the same way, with photo editing software, we an question photographs and other images we see today, flaws an be removed, skin and eyes made brighter, teeth whitened, people slimmed, backgrounds changed, people an be edited out – a pretty endless list of changes can be made to an image before being shared to the public domain.  Any image we view now needs to be viewed in the same way as Rene’s work as many of the images we see are just representations, not a actual truth which could be captured and less easily manipulated when using film to make images.

With film though, and its the same with digital image capture, as a viewer we are never really sure if an image has been staged to look a certain way or if it is spontaneous, for example, I could decorate my house out with all the Christmas paraphernalia and take images supposedly showing the festive season but have taken them in June… the viewer could come to the conclusion that the images were actually made in December but the truth is way out.

This all then brings me to advertising campaigns, with all this photo-editing going on in our own homes, and fairly easily at that given that there are you tube tutorials for just about anything and everything you could ever want to do, we, as viewers are more likely to question adverts.  But this is not my point… With all images being edited to some extent or other, our “snapshots” that we share have become an advert, something carefully constructed, and thought about in terms of how we are seen in these images by the viewers of them.  As image takers and sharers we are fully aware of what the images we are seen in say about us.  We want to be like the models in adverts with the perfect skin, glossy hair, having fun, being fashionable, being popular etc… that we only ever share the best images of us.

Anyway, this is just a few of the thoughts going around in my head at the moment with regard to my dissertation…

For the project that runs alongside my dissertation I have been looking at film snapshots and Corrine Day in particular as she has shot many projects in the style of snapshot photography, Diary (some images from this project can be viewed on her site here) being one of them.  I am unsure which direction to go in with snapshot photography as I have a few directions and interests on this subject – one of those being to take my own snapshots and focus, possibly, on re-creating or making snapshots of everything I would normally use digital imaging for, or look at the extinction of film photography and photographs, family albums as actual objects, and old film created photographs as the precious objects they once were.

The Park

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I took these photos at the same time as I took the ones in the previous post (https://artreviewed.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/its-all-in-the-detail/ )

I am still fairly undecided on where I want to go with this project and what I want to do with it, I have an idea but don’t think it is the best idea and feel that I could do better and create something that I would be much happier with.  I know that I would like to do something involving/based on the park but I also want to do something involving industry as it is an important factor in how the town came about.  I am currently working on a concept but am uncertain at the moment where it may lead.

Insomnia – The Final Edit

 

This is the final edit of my images for the summer project “Insomnia”.  I had these printed out at 8″x10″ at Asda (http://www.asda-photo.co.uk/).  They were displayed in the above order side by side in uni.  I was really surprised and also disappointed to realize that the work we had done over the summer wasn’t going to be graded or marked as such.  The images were intended to open discourse, if we wanted.  I did get to speak about my work but not in great depth, and I got asked questions too, some of which came from people who hadn’t read the accompanying Artist Statement which describes our work, what we did, how we went about it and what we were trying to capture, it is there to provide further understanding to the work and background information along with any further information that  may be relevant.  I set out to capture feelings about insomnia and how it affects me, I have found that my insomnia is caused mostly by subconscious anxiety and there isn’t much I can do to cure it, I have also learned how to shoot in lit, night-time conditions to capture movement and I am happy with the images I produced.  My understanding of aperture, ISO and shutter speed has been made clearer and I have other things that I would now like to try in the future.

 

All images shot with Pentax K2000, edited with Photoshop CS3 and printed by Asda.

Detrius

These images were taken a few years ago on a camping holiday.  When I was looking through all of the images that I had taken I realised that a lot of them were of items that the sea had washed up onto the shore.  I liked the images as they were but decided to focus in on the details of what was left by the sea.  I have Photoshopped all images with Photoshop CS3 and altered the tone and colour caste of the images, warming or cooling the picture to add to its effect.  I am not sure which of these images is my favourite, in a way they all are for different reasons.  I would like to continue with looking at “Detrius” as a theme and topic in future works that I undertake.

* All photos taken with Pentax K2000 and editied using Photoshop CS3

 

Moth!

I had forgotten that I had taken these images a while ago and found them on my computer when I was having a sort out of my images!  I found this little (Big) fella on our shed door over at the allotment.  All the images have been played around with in Photoshop CS3 and have been zoomed and cropped, some changed from colour to black and white and some with vignette round the edges.

I really like the above image.  I like that the moths body goes out of focus and the attention is drawn to his face.  I added the vignette to enhance that quality.

The image above is another favourite, I really like the angle at which I took this.  I think changing this image to black and white is also really effective and helps to keep the attention on the moth rather than be distracted by the background.

The image above and the ones below are all from the same viewpoint but I have changed different things in Photoshop to see what they would look like and how from one image you can get several different styles and “looks”.

I am really pleased with how they came out, especially as they were not taken at a really close range or with a Macro Lens.  It amazes me what my camera can pick up detail wise and, as I am learning, the amount of things you can do with Photoshop!

Also, if you are on facebook please look out for my photography page Peering at Pictures Photography (PAPP)

Close Up at the Allotment!

I took these over at the allotment and have played around with them in Photoshop CS3.  The above and below image are the same but one seems to be clearer in the water highlight and the other not so much…I am having trouble deciding which one I like best!  Both were from the same image that has been cropped down and zoomed in on, made into a black and white image and then I have played around with the colour saturation and contrast.  I think that in the image below I have concentrated too much on the contrast and blown the white highlights but the above one havent played around with it enough…Something to work on and play around with!

I love this image, It shows a pool of water between the stem and leaves of a leek plant.  I converted this image from colour to black and white and upped the lighting.  converting an image from colour to black and white can reveal details that were lost when the image was colour.  I have cropped the image and blown it up, removed some parts that I felt were distracting and that is about it.  I am really happy with how this image looks.

This image is an extreme close up of droplets of water on one of the leek leaves.  The droplets in the foreground and background are a bit distorted but I don’t mind that.  I have pretty much done the same to this image as I have in the above one.  I decided not to sharpen this image as I liked the grainy feel to it.

This image is one of my favourites, I didn’t need to crop it as much as the others although I did convert it from colour to black and white.  i feel that with this image you can almost feel the texture of the dandelion clock.  I don’t think there is any improvement I would make to this image.

*Images taken with Pentax K2000 and edited with Photoshop CS3

Mushrooom!

While I was off I visited my parents and found this little guy in a pot of mint my Mum is growing!  This is the final edit that I am pretty happy with.  I edited the photo on Photoshop CS3 and cropped down one of the images below, zooming in on the mushroom so it became the main subject of the image.  I played around with the contrast and colours a bit and removed some bits that I found distracting before adding a vignette to the image.

I’m happy with this image as I have pushed myself with Photoshop, which I have no previous experience of really.  There are a few things I would still like to change, like getting rid of the bit that comes across the mushroom stalk, but I’m not sure how.  I think this will be something I come back to and re-edit as my skills grow with Photoshop!

This is the image after a few tweaks but without the vignette.  I liked this image but felt that I could draw the audience in further and add more interest to my subject by darkening the outside frame slightly.

And these are all the images I took before I edited them.  I am pretty pleased that my camera can handle such close up photography without a specialist Macro Lens on it.  I just used the Macro Setting on my camera and altered the aperture and shutter speed settings.

*Photos taken with Pentax K2000 DSLR and SMC Pentax-Dal 1:3.5-5.6 18-55mm AL lens (came with camera)