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  Many family photo albums have ceased to exist once film cameras have been replaced by digital capture devices, instead these images remain stored as digital data on computers and discs, a selection being uploaded to be shared with friends on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.

A bit of everything…

I’m just updating as I have a new camera to add to the collection!  😀  I got bought this baby at the weekend by my lovely boyfriend as an early birthday gift!  It’s the Diana Mini and I cant wait to get the film finished and see what the images come out like!  This is the camera http://www.urbanoutfitters.co.uk/lomography-diana-mini-camera/invt/5560410283648/&bklist= (here) and I also got some film for it which you can get here … http://www.urbanoutfitters.co.uk/lomography-35mm-colour-film/invt/5560410284363/&bklist= .  The camera takes 35mm film and shoots to a square format or half frame.  So far my film is set to half frame which means that a 36 exposure film now becomes a 72 exposure film!!!  I have a lot of photos to take!!!!

 

In other news Damien Hirst (<3) has unveiled his new work, Verity in Ilfracombe.   Now,  I love Damien Hirst and his works (reading my blog should make this apparent!) but I also love Ilfracombe.  It’s the place my parents used to take us when we were on holidays, we have spent many an evening walking along the quayside eating prawns from little polystyrene cups, watching fudge being made in the First Shop/Last Shop and taking boat trips out to see dolphins and even a trip on the Balmoral paddle steamer!  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2214616/Damien-Hirsts-disgusting-giant-statue-naked-pregnant-woman-arrives-sedate-Devon-seaside-town.html?ito=feeds-newsxml here’s just one of the “reviews”.

Insomnia – Further Photos

 

 

Test Shot 1…  I took to see what effect the settings were going to have on the overall image, that the camera was positioned correctly and to check that everything I wanted was in the frame.

 

 

This is the image showing movement.  I am not entirely happy with this image as it seems to show the movement as a bright glow in the center of the bed rather than actual blurred movement.  I have thought about maybe re-shooting this but moving around more slowly or even editing it in Photoshop to see what it is like in black and white.

 

 

I have moved the camera in this shot and went straight into shooting without first doing a test shot…sometimes I get a bit carried away!  This is why the test shot comes further down… I am still unsure about this image and am having the same problems with it as the above shot.  None of these images have been edited in any way yet, they are straight from camera so perhaps playing around with them in Photoshop may help, if not I can try a re-shoot.

 

 

 

This image seems to capture movement a bit better with some hazy “ghost” parts to the image.  I am happier with this image than the previous images.  When I took this image I checked the last image and decided on the spot to re-shoot and moved around a bit slower to see if that made any difference.

 

 

 

Test Shot 2… If I had done the test shot first I think I would have chosen to move the duvet out of the frame completely and maybe remove some of the clutter in the background before shooting…  Worth noting for next time!

 

 

 

Test Shot 3 … I moved the camera again and took a test shot to see if the framing was ok, as with the above test shot, I think I should have removed the duvet completely from the shot as I am now finding it to be distracting along with the background clutter.

 

 

 

I am much more happy with how this image has turned out!  It is more along the lines of what I was expecting.  The image has some nice movement trails in it which I think have been helped by a different camera position, however I think that the camera and tripod were set up too close to the bed as the background is blurry which could have been caused by camera shake, I’m not sure if this matters too much with the overall image but I am tempted to re-shoot..  I really would like to convert this to black and white to see what it would look like!!!!

 

 

 

Test Shot 4… Again, I should have moved the duvet and the clutter from under the bed and in the background.  Really like the framing of this shot though!

 

 

 

This image, as the one above, works for what I set out to capture and is along the lines of what I expected.  In hindsight I would have moved the duvet as it is a large distraction for me personally.

 

 

 

This image is even better in terms of what I wanted to create.  I think that this camera angle helps to capture the movement as trails and ghosting really well!

 

 

 

Test Shot 5… Clutter beside the bed….

 

 

 

Test Shot 6… Still clutter but better in terms of distraction.  I think I should re-shoot this angle again and remove all items from the frame as they are still distracting.

 

 

 

This image is a bit too ghost like for me.  There is no real suggestion that the light parts of the bed are a person, to me it looks like a camera fault.  However, I am keen to see (again) how this would look like in black and white.

 

 

Again, I’m not entirely happy with this shot as there is not enough movement recorded.  I think it may be down to camera angle and shutter speed so I may have to re-shoot.

 

 

 

Another shot I did using the same camera angle as the shots above…  This one is marginally better than the ones above but only slightly.  I’m still not sure on the camera angle for this shot or how movement has been recorded.

 

 

Test Shot 7 … Another different camera angle, checking the framing of the shot.  I think that the clutter on the bedside cabinet should have been removed as it is distracting.

 

 

 

 

 

Whats In The Bag?

 Or How to Get This Lot (<— ) into This Bag… —>

The Stuff

(L – R, Top to Bottom)

Pentax K2000 DSLR, Kodak Colour Plus 35mm Film, Canon EOS3000 SLR, Fish Eye Lens attachment, Card Wallet, Eye Drops, Perfume Stick, Tissues, Gum, Pens, Coin Purse, Lip Balm, Keys, Lippy, Fold Away Carrier Bag, Ipod Classic, Portable Window Light Diffuser.

The Bag – Crumpler Cupcake 7500.

Firstly I want to rave a bit about how good this bag is!  Wow! It really is brilliant!  Not only can I fit 2 cameras into it but also other camera equipment and things I need on a day-to-day basis too!  I love messenger style bags!  I did have a LowePro Pro Runner rucksack a while ago but didn’t get on with it very well in that I couldn’t access my stuff as quickly and easily as I could with a messenger bag and had been on the lookout for a nice messenger bag style camera bag that could hold everything I needed on a day-to-day basis.  This one is AMAZING!  I’m sure I can’t say it enough!  Anyway, enough about bag love, how the heck do I fit all my stuff into it?  Well, here’s a quick look

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That’s how!  😀  And before any of you ask, I like to carry around 2 cameras, it gives me different options of what to shoot with for different effects.  I love film and the feel that it has but I also love the instantness of digital!  If it were a perfect world (and someone could build a bag to accommodate it!) would carry around my whole camera collection and all the pieces that go with it just so I could have all the choice I wanted!  Instead I had to make a choice and at the moment it is both my DSLR and my 35mm SLR!

Weekend Project #1 The Garden

As I said in my post here (https://artreviewed.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/in-review-may/) I wanted to start doing Day/weekend projects, taking photos with all my different cameras.  I know it has been a while coming but I got weigh-laid along the way but have now started!!!!

Today I took my Canon EOS3000 into the garden with a fish eye lens attachment and had fun snapping away.  I havent got any photos to show for it yet, hopefully I shall get them processed tomorrow!!!  I am so excited to FINALLY start using film again nad be able to try out all my cameras again!  I always seem to use the same camera (my Pentax K2000 DSLR) when I take photos and I forget that I have other choices that I could use.

I can’t wait to get the film processed, for one, it’s a camera I haven’t really used before (well, I have used it but the film came back blank but think it was down to it being a black and white film and not being processed correctly…) and I cant wait to see what the photos come out like!

It’s nice to be able to set myself a task of taking a roll of film over the course of a day/weekend as although it’s not a ‘proper’ project, it pushes me into thinking more creatively and allows me to capture things that I would probably, normally, take for granted.  It helps me see things in a new light and I can learn from what I have done and figure out what I’d like to progress with.

Once processed, I shall be putting my favourites up on here for you to see! 😀

In Review – MAY

I can’t believe May has come and gone!  It doesn’t feel like that long ago that I finished uni for the summer! (Not that we have had much of a summer yet, 1 week of hot sunny weather and the rest has been wet and miserable…)

Anyway, as this is a review of May I shall be sharing my favourite posts with you along with my favourite ideas that have cropped up along the way!

So, this month my favourite posts were (in most recent – earliest)

1) Heat. (https://artreviewed.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/heat/)  I really like this post as it was a spur of the moment blog that I wasn’t going to do.  I was originally going to blog about something else but had taken these photos in the garden and they captured (to me anyway) how hot it was.  The photos I took were calm and peaceful, which the day was, it was one of those days where you could smell the warmth in the air and there wasn’t a cloud to be seen, let alone a breeze to be felt.

2) Circles Project Week 2. (https://artreviewed.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/circles-project-week-2/) I liked the first weeks photos but am more pleased with how the second weeks photos turned out.  I feel that I have pushed myself and challenged myself to be more creative with the photos I have taken, used different view points and become more investigative with my pictures.

3) Summer Bucket List. (https://artreviewed.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/summer-bucket-list/)  As I am not in uni now for quite a while and (seem to) have time on my hands I thought it would be nice to compile a bucket list of things I would like to do during the holidays apart from just concentrate on uni work and photos.  Some of the items on my list I have tried and have had fun with, some I have ideas for and some I have yet to start or do, which is ok as I do have a lot of time to be able to do these things in!  At some point there will be a post about what I have done on the list and photos too!!!

4) My Cameras. (https://artreviewed.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/my-cameras-photos/) This post where I spoke about my cameras made me realise that I do own an awful amount of cameras, some I have not used for ages (maybe even years) and it got me thinking about them and how much I loved taking photos with them, all for different reasons.  It has made me think about starting to use them again and think about projects I could do using them!

5) A Model Family. (https://artreviewed.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/a-model-family-the-finished-product/) I’m not sure I can even begin to explain how happy I am with this project and the way it turned out in the end, especially as at one point I felt that I was battling with it and on the verge of giving up.  This project is not just a grade to me, it is blood, sweat and tears and a reminder to myself not to give up and keep going even when you feel like it is not going to work.  Just a little more effort and energy and belief in the idea can make it work!  And I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this one! 😀

So, that’s my favourite posts but I have some ides also that I would like to  follow on with in this month.

1) Day Projects  (https://artreviewed.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/day-projects/)  After I had this idea and had blogged about it I thought about what I could photo in a day and have now made a list.  I am hoping to be able to take photos on a saturday each week and then get them developed on sunday with a view to posting in the week.  I decided that I was going to use film for these projects as I want to get back into using film and really like the effects you can obtain with film.  I like the idea of doing short projects that can be done in a day as it means that the projects can be based purely on photography and are quick and less time-consuming!

2) Illustrating a Story. (https://artreviewed.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/illustrating-a-story/)  I like this idea which was a project we had in uni back in January.  It can be as simple or as technical as you like and could be quite interesting.  im not sure if I will choose a story to illustrate at the moment but I would like to keep it in mind for the future.

Things to work on in June.

1) Uni Summer Project.  As I now have 2 completely new ideas I need to research them and decide whether to do them both (as both are viable options at the moment) or whether I should just do one.  This decision can only be made once research is underway and I can see where I can go with my ideas and the volume of work each idea produces, and then where these ideas take me in terms of photographs and the quality of the ideas behind them.

2) Circles Project.  I seem to have lost momentum for this project slightly.  I’m not sure why, but over the next few weeks I am going to be editing some of the photos I have taken and really start playing with the ideas I have.  One of the ideas for this project is to create something and I’m keen to get started with it and see what happens!

3) Day Projects.  I am determined to start this project and use all of the cameras I have, if not to produce good work but to re-familiarise myself with film and the cameras themselves.  I will be aiming to do one project each weekend, with shooting on a saturday and developing on a sunday!

My Cameras – Photos

Here they are, my cameras (as posted about here https://artreviewed.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/a-new-camera/)

From Left to right –

1) Fuji film DL-270 Zoom 35mm film camera.  This was my first “proper camera” bought for me by my parents for Christmas one year, probably about 1996/97.  It has a panoramic format button which makes photos long and thin and captures more detail either side of the frame.  I haven’t used it for years as I have a feeling that the film take up spool, which loads the film automatically, is broken.

2) Kumagin Superheadz Super Fat Lens 35mm film toy camera.  I bought this last year in the Victoria and Albert Museum and have used it a bit, not as much as I’d like to though.  It takes amazing wide-angle photos which vignette slightly around the edges and, some of the photos I have taken with it on a sunny day have these sunbeams across them which are really pretty.  You can’t zoom in with this one, it is purely a point and shoot camera.

3) Canon EOS 3000, 35mm film camera.  This is the camera I bought the other day.  I have taken a few shots with it but havent gotten anything developed yet.  I don’t have a manual for it yet but am going to try to find one later on the internet.

4) Holga GTLR, 120mm film camera.  I bought this back in November for a project that I was doing for my degree.  It is a Glass Twin Lens Reflex camera which means that the lens’ are made from glass, it has 2 lens’ at the front, one to view through and one that takes the picture, you need to be careful about how you position your image that you want to take as the lens you take the photo with is some distance from the lens you view through which can lead to unbalanced photos or subjects with heads cut off!  I haven’t used this camera nearly enough as I would like!!!

5) Olympus OM-40 35mm film SLR.  This camera is not really  mine.  It belongs to my boyfriends brother who has let me use it for several of my projects.  I really like this camera, it is a Single Lens Reflex camera which means the lens you view through is also the lens that takes the image.  It is easy to use and has a nice weight about it, it’s not to heavy nor light.  It is the first film SLR that I have used and I would love to do more with it!

6) Kodak Easy Share C913 digital.  This camera I bought about 3 years ago after my last one died.  At the time I needed something that I could chuck into a bag and take anywhere with me and not worry too much about it.  It has a zoom button that allows you to get quite close to the subject without losing quality and is small and cheap enough to take anywhere.  I used to use this all the time but haven’t used it for nearly a year as the battery life is quite unpredictable in it.

7) Samsung NX DSLR.  This is not technically my camera.  I bought it for my boyfriend as he wanted a camera that he could learn to use and take photos with.  I didn’t want to get him something similar to my Kodak as I felt that wouldn’t be much fun for him so I got him this.  It is brilliant!  One of the best DSLR’s I have used (apart from mine obv’s!) Its design is based around a compact camera but it has all the features of an SLR, (different lens’, settings etc).  It’s not one I use much but my boyfriend has had fun taking photos with it!

The ones not included…

8)Pentax K2000 DSLR, as I was using it to take photos of the cameras with!  This is my baby!  My Grandma gave me some money before I started uni to get myself some equipment that I needed, so along with some birthday money I received from her I managed to buy myself this.  I use it pretty much constantly and it has never let me down really, though I must say that it will eat batteries if you use it in really cold weather!  I carry this with me almost everywhere I go and is the first camera I reach for when I want to take photos.

9) Voigtlander GTLR 120mm film, box camera.  This was purchased from ebay in November and worked for a bit.  It is really old and the winding mechanism that pulls the film through and makes the exposure counter work seized up.  It is currently at my parents where my Dad is painstakingly cleaning it up bit by bit and fixing it for me.  I used this camera twice and really can’t wait for it to be back in working order (if it can be fixed that is) so I can use it again!  The one image I managed to retrieve from it was beautiful and so detailed and crisp, I’d love to be able to take more photos like that!

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