Photograph 1 got me started on Assignment 3 – Landscape (’Spaces to Places’), because I found a way to show the stark contrast between the flow of seemingly constant tourists and the seemingly unmoving yet working figures. These working figures go largely unnoticed quite a lot of time and yet, I felt, make up a lot of the character of the space that is London.
This juxtaposition between the still and moving in London often appeared as a kind of ordered chaos in the resultant photographs I had taken; this beginning photograph being no exception. I felt this required a sort of ‘photographic vision’ and although this first photograph for the assignment came about somewhat fortuitously, I managed to notice this contrast and see it had potential to make a photograph and could be implemented in similar photographs as a coherent theme.
There was a lot of ‘ordered chaos’ present, in my eyes, for this photograph. This ‘ordered chaos’, would have been just chaos, I believed, had it not been for the inclusion of the street statue in the frame to act as the main focal point. The flow of people (mainly presumably tourists) took up a large part of the frame with some sort of flow evident in the paths they were walking in the long exposure I had taken for the foreground and middle-distance. However, it was the inclusion of a street performer (a silver ‘statue’) inside the ‘found frame’ that caught my eye. The reason he caught my eye was simply because he was not moving, while everyone else was. I recognised this added interest, if I were to capture the scene using a long exposure. Here the ‘statue’, would remain sharp and still in the photograph, while the people flowing in multitude, would appear in motion and blurred; thereby creating a contrast. He was rendered quite a small figure in the middle-distance but luckily; he was silver in colour and this was shiny enough that he stood out well from the moving crowd; besides not moving.
Lastly, I used a kind of ‘found frame’ compositional element on either side of the multitude of people and street statue to draw the viewer’s eye in. ‘Found’ or ‘natural’ frames ‘can help draw your viewer’s eye into your image and create a sense of depth and importance’ – (Peterson, 2013). Here, the sides of the corridor were almost black from lack of light and then this contrasted with the view out of the corridor onto the (light) square and beyond, where the multitude of people were moving and the statue was standing.
Observations I could see to perhaps improve this photograph, would be to get in closer to the street statue to make him a more obvious focal point of the photograph. However, this would then mean then the natural frame would have to be sacrificed or else I would have had to photograph from further back with a higher focal length. This might have been impractical; because of the number of people in the centre of Covent Garden, where I would have been situated if further back. Overall then, I liked the composition and felt the positioning of the street statue in the frame complemented the ‘ordered chaos’ well; with him appearing to ‘look down’ upon the throng of tourists passing by beneath him.
Covent Garden, is of course a place frequented heavily by tourists and also adds a lot of historical value to London, which I felt made it one of the prime locations for at least one of the photographs taken for this project. Some history I felt relevant to this photograph concerning its setting consisted of: Covent Garden was built as a piazza by Inigo Jones, commissioned by Francis Russell in the 1630s. Covent Garden was actually famous historically as a fruit, vegetable and flower market, during the 1650s. Then, as the popularity of the market grew and grew until it was not feasible to hold it in this location it was relocated to Nine Elms in 1974 and from 1980 the original Covent Garden became what it is now known for – ‘ a major tourist and shopping destination’ – (Espey, 2012). The street the camera was looking towards was ‘James Street, which runs out of Covent Garden on the north, and connects it with Long Acre’ – (Thornbury, 1878). James Street; besides being a popular through road for tourists nowadays, it would appear hasn’t changed drastically historically: ‘the street seems to have enjoyed but little celebrity in comparison with the neighbouring thoroughfares’ – (Thornbury, 1878).
Camera settings for Photograph 1 were:
Because I took multiple exposures and combined them (one for the statue and a handful for the long exposures of the tourists passing by), I have written down the settings separately for firstly the photograph to ‘freeze’ the statue and then a setting representative for one of the long exposures.
f/8, 1/8s, ISO 100, focal length 35mm (cropped) and no neutral density filter. A tripod and cable release were used.
f/8, 31 seconds, ISO 200, focal length 35mm (cropped) and 5 stop and 2 stop neutral density filters. A tripod and cable release were used.
Espey, N. (2012). A short history | Covent Garden | Covent Garden – 400 Years of History | Covent Garden Memories. [online] Coventgardenmemories.org.uk. Available at: http://www.coventgardenmemories.org.uk/page_id__33.aspx?path=0p36p [Accessed 18 Nov. 2015].
Peterson, D. (2013). 17 Examples of Natural Frames :: Digital Photo Secrets. [online] Digital-photo-secrets.com. Available at: http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/tip/2969/17-examples-of-natural-frames/ [Accessed 18 Nov. 2015].
Thornbury, W. (1878). Old and New London: Volume 3. London: Cassell, Petter and Galpin. In. British-history.ac.uk. (2015). Covent Garden : Part 2 of 3 | British History Online. [online] Available at: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/old-new-london/vol3/pp255-269 [Accessed 18 Nov. 2015].