One element all of the photographs I submitted for Assignment 1 had in common were that they were taken from a fairly low viewpoint. This was for two reasons; the first being simply that it was practical to capture the foreshore and have more compositional possibilities from down beside it when the tide was out than from above on the riverside. Secondly, I felt it offered a more subjective viewpoint, where the viewer would more likely to be involved with the various elements of the foreshore, with the big landmarks still dominating the skyline. This way the viewer could potentially feel emotion for the sublimity of the scene I was tying to portray.
For technical information I was aware when the foreshore would be revealed when the tide was out by using a very useful app called ‘Tides Near Me – Free’, I found on the Google Play Store by Meech, R. (2013). Combining this with another app on the Google Play Store: ‘Sun Surveyor’ by Ratana, A. (2011-2015), allowed me to find when there would be ‘good’ lighting on the landmarks I would be photographing. Specifically, I used ‘Sun Surveyor’ by Ratana, A. (2011-2015) to find at which window there would be the golden/blue hour each day and plan my journeys to the foreshore (when the tide would be out) accordingly.
My initial intentions were to capture all the shots in colour; my reasoning being: the famous landmarks juxtaposed against the Thames’ foreshore would be more easily recognisable in colour but on second thoughts I decided to the contrary to process them all in black and white. This was because, while experimenting with a black and white treatment for one of the photographs, I found the intrigue for the viewer instigated by this juxtaposition of the old (Thames’ foreshore) and the New (the famous landmarks), was further pronounced by this treatment. It made the viewer question what they were seeing further and kept their eye in the frame for a longer period of time. This I put down to be perhaps because of their unfamiliarity with objects that seemed like they should be familiar (in particular the famous landmarks) a feeling I felt was integral to the sublime. This effect was what I was aiming for; provoked by the relationships between the old in the foreground and the new in the distance.
I was admittedly a bit worried about how the night or blue hour shots would turn out like in black and white; whether they would be recognisable as taken at that time was my main concern. However, the lights from the buildings were beneficial in making this time of day subtly apparent. At the same time, I was quietly satisfied that the daytime photographs I had taken for the assignment didn’t lose anything by being converted to black and white; in fact I felt they gained a whole lot of mystery and character from this process.
With both the day and night black and white photographs, just as the viewer begins to recognise the famous landmark(s), they then have to try to make sense of the foreground, which the black and white treatment lends no help to. So, the juxtaposition between the landmark and the foreshore is established in the viewer’s mind. All of this incomplete puzzle in the viewer’s mind helps encourage them to step further into the sublime of each photograph; the power of the strangely familiar landmark, juxtaposed with the uncertainty of the otherworldly or forgotten Thames’ Foreshore (depending upon how well versed the prospective viewer is concerning the Thames’ Foreshore).
Meech, R. (2013). Tides Near Me – Free.
Ratana, A. (2011-2015). Sun Surveyor.