There were a few more subtle changes made to the photographs based on suggestions my tutor made regarding the discernibility of the tourists, in the night time shot (Photograph 4 – Assignment 3) as figures. ‘Perhaps a stronger element of crowd in the foreground they really are more like shadows from the people above.’ I agreed with my tutor here but luckily I had a couple more exposures where the people were more distinct and so I blended them in using layers and their respective masks until there was more activity visible in the lower half of the frame and in my opinion they appeared like figures passing by rather than ‘shadows from the people above’.
Then there was the issue my tutor picked up on: ‘The rickshaw image is the first one that has a little of the superimposed feel about it. This is the one that I would pick out as the most obvious user of a layering technique.’ for Photograph 7 – Assignment 3. I looked at this image for a while because I agreed with my tutor that the tourists around the rickshaw riders looked ‘superimposed’ through the use of layering, which was indeed the case! I came to the conclusion the reason it looked superimposed in part was because of the people’s legs, which I’d superimposed right at the bottom centre of the frame below the rickshaw riders. I still had the layers and layer masks for Photograph 7 – Assignment 3 saved in Photoshop so I painted back out those legs in the bottom centre of the frame which I felt made the photograph more realistic overall.
The most drastic change I decided to make to Assignment 3 – Landscape however, was the incorporation of split-toning into my workflow for the processing of the photographs. My tutor commented in my tutor report that while ‘the print quality is good they have a slightly split tone feel to them’ and while this was quite subtle in appearance for the viewer of the prints, it didn’t match the screen images I’d uploaded to my blog. My tutor also subsequently pointed this out in the tutor report: ‘I think the prints are so much better than the screen images. Its subjective but the onscreen ones are a lot cooler and more calculating. The prints have a much more human – analogue -non digital feel.’ Firstly I wanted the screen images to be as similar as possible to the prints, it was my opinion that consistency was quite an important factor for different mediums of presentation. I discovered my printer had only one black ink and actually used colour cartridges for the black and white printing. The source for this discovery was: ‘Because the Epson Stylus Photo 1500W doesn’t feature dedicated monochrome inks, it has to blend its colour inks to great shades of grey.’ – Hawkins, M. (2012) found at: http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/peripherals/printers-and-scanners/printers/epson-stylus-photo-1500w-1079586/review/2 accessed on 16/8/2016. I would assume this is where the ‘slightly split tone feel to them’ came from. Also I decided I wanted to embrace this ‘split tone feel’ in both the screen images and the prints. By purposefully going for a split tone look I would be able to keep the prints more consistent with the screen images as well making the screen images appear slightly less digital to match the ‘much more human – analogue -non digital feel’ of the prints. In order to produce the split tone feel I used Adobe Lightroom’s ‘Split Toning’ feature in the Develop module. I experimented with different values for the hue of the highlights and shadows, the saturation of hue for the highlights and shadows and the balance of highlights and shadows split toning. I eventually arrived at the following values (consistent with each photograph for Assignment 3 – Landscape) through my own taste of the onscreen images and also printing a few times the different combinations of split toning until I was satisfied. The values I arrived at were: Hue and saturation of the highlights: 45 and 42 respectively. Hue and saturation of the shadows: 232 and 29 respectively. The balance between the highlights and shadows was +23 to the highlights. For me this produced a more ‘human’, less ‘digital’ feel to both the onscreen images and the prints.
Finally my tutor noted there was a lack of information on my blog regarding my inspiration for the ‘ghosts of the city’ as tourists for Assignment 3 – Landscape and the reason for this was I had inadvertently produced a few photographs where it appeared there were ‘Ghosts of the city’ evident in the frame. My most obvious example of this was in Example Photograph 1 where in the middle of the frame ghosts appeared to be residing in the city, caused by the long exposure of 5 seconds which was incidentally the exposure time necessary to expose at f/11, ISO 100 during the blue hour. The reason I chose to expose with these settings was because it allowed for minimal noise in the image and so resulting for my tastes in better image quality compared to if a higher ISO had been used. So really my inspiration for ‘Ghosts of the city’ was accidental! I had subsequently decided to incorporate this discovery of long exposures rendering people as ‘ghosts’ into my workflow in producing the photographs for Assignment 3 – Landscape.
Hawkins, M. (2012). Epson Stylus Photo 1500W review. [online] TechRadar. Available at: http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/peripherals/printers-and-scanners/printers/epson-stylus-photo-1500w-1079586/review/2 [Accessed 30 Aug. 2016].
This was an extremely challenging Assignment for me; not least because I was coming to realise, with landscape, more than other genres in photography for me, it is important to have some sort of plan or purpose before committing to a certain way of landscape photography practice. It also made me wonder: at what point does photography become more reliant upon semantic rhetoric than photographic vision/practical skills in terms of final output?
My first initial instincts for Assignment 3, culminated in something called ‘Ghosts of the City’ – a project which I felt (theoretically) would be very aesthetically pleasing but which, try as I might, I could not construe to have much semantic meaning; other than that it incorporated figures within the landscape; an intrinsic element in my opinion in turning Space into Place (the assignment brief), in a surreal manner.
Since this project (Ghosts of the City), which I had kind of set my heart on, didn’t have much merit apart from aesthetically (at least that I could see), I began to drift away from this idea but was at a bit of a loss concerning what new project to convert to. One possibility I considered, was some sort of virtual reality project, where I took a critical stance on an issue I felt was very topical – that of virtual reality ‘taking over’ actual reality. I was sure this topic had a lot of artistic possibilities in regards to how I chose to represent this in a photograph but I couldn’t quite arrive at any ‘concrete’ ideas for representing such a topic as incisively as I had hoped. I thought perhaps I could incorporate these loose ideas into a future project.
I decided to revert back to ‘Ghosts of the City’, while simultaneously photographing Covent Garden as an historical place. It was here that I managed to stumble upon a way of photographing a project similar to how I had envisaged ‘Ghosts of the City’ would turn out but with an interesting (and crucially, a semantically strong) twist. I was looking at the time for a way to add context to the space of Covent Garden (so it was still discernible as Covent Garden), while at the same time recording a flow of people moving in multitude through Covent Garden. The location I eventually chose was a small corridor leading from inside Covent Garden’s main square interior (The Apple Market) to the outskirts of the square. I chose this at the time mainly because it offered context – the lantern overhead was evidently quite old and had a distinguishable shaping that was fairly unique, I felt, in London. As well as this, there was a kind of ‘found frame’ evident, where 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.
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.
This realisation made me query whether I could repeat a similar contrast of the still and the moving figures in London but in other locations, with other ‘still’ people.
The obvious juxtaposition of moving with still would suggest a contrasting relationship between them. While doing this, the viewer’s eye would linger in the frame for a longer duration; a key aspect of a photograph’s success, in my opinion. Not only this and perhaps more importantly for this assignment, I would be turning space into place, because of this very relationship between still and moving. The still people were integral parts of the landscape I’d chosen (similar in some ways to the architecture around them) and often with some kind of historical relevance, while the moving were only fleeting but arguably equally important elements; representing tourists. If only one of the aforementioned aspects (still or moving), were present in the photograph, the space would have been less of a place, because there would be no order in the photograph, which represented the space. The reason order was a necessary aspect, would be for the reason that it reflected the viewer’s eye looking at the photographs and their ‘relationship’ with the figures represented within each photograph. It not only gave the viewer longer to think about their relationship but also had the potential to open another ‘reality’ within the photograph; by reflecting the familiar in the form of other discernible (and less discernible) people in the same photograph.
If neither still nor moving people were present in the space, it would have remained exactly that; a space, as there was no ‘familiar’ to relate with, other than the buildings. In order to create a ‘familiar’ to relate with, I incorporated figures in different ways. The still figures in each photograph for the assignment created a ‘familiar’ for the space and the moving figures created a context for the space. Going one step further than this – including either the still or the moving creates a semi-reality – and finally using both simultaneously creates a place.
This was also true aesthetically, where the still could be seen as ‘pure’ and this was then offset by the experimental long exposure elements of each photograph; as pictorial (more contemporary ironically). The fact they appeared within the same photographs however, showed for me a place in photography practice, which fused two contrasting kinds of photography to create an imbalance of reality, from a juxtaposition of styles.
One potential issue I came across technically, while photographing for this assignment, was the necessity for exposure blending with different subject matter to be utilised in order for me to achieve the desired effect I was looking for in the photographs. My original thoughts regarding exposure blending with different subject matter, were along the lines of ‘exposure blending with different subject matter doesn’t work, because photographs are supposed to be real/represent reality.’
However, photographs are usually, maybe even consistently, deceiving. This is especially true of digital photography, with ‘an intrinsically fluid and malleable digital code.’ – (Wells, 2009). Additionally, ‘With this code in place the photographic image becomes manipulable to a fine degree.’ – (Wells, 2009). Digital images are often heavily processed; sometimes adding or removing elements of the image, with the intent to provide a different aesthetic and/or alter to the meaning of the eventual photograph. The extent of this processing varies greatly; from subtle dodging and burning to adding/removing people.
The question I asked myself as I began to realise I might have to do the latter extent of processing was: ‘does adding/removing people using a different image but from the same position a few moments later, make the eventual photograph any less of a representation of reality?’
The answer, for me was, photographs aren’t real anyway but by adding/removing people (even if they appear blurred from a long exposure and the result is ‘natural-looking’), then that particular rendition of reality has been altered, regardless of how natural it appears.
Having said that, this kind of treatment of an image as described above (exposure blending with different subject matter), can add meaning/beauty to the eventual photograph and since a camera can’t ever truly capture reality, it is perfectly acceptable, in my eyes. In other words, as long as the eventual photograph appears natural or as intended by the photographer and is ‘accepted’ by the viewer, then the photograph works in my opinion; regardless of whether exposure blending has been implemented.
Wells (2011), Land Matters – Landscape Photography, Culture and Identity, I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 6 Salem Road, London, W2 4BU.
Once again showing the influx of people to Covent Garden, this photograph also portrays two rickshaw drivers; waiting optimistically for prospective customers. Despite the large number of moving figures, these rickshaw drivers remain motionless and waiting. The location is a good one to wait at, with Covent Garden tube station has: ‘the yearly flow of 16.9 million users.’ – (Coventgarden.uk.com, n.d.).
This photograph was again shot at James Street, Covent Garden but looking the other way; this time from Covent Garden tube station towards Covent Garden market. Behind the rickshaw drivers is the Nag’s Head, built in 1673.
In so far as the photograph was concerned technically, I was very satisfied with the number of ghostly figures (as tourists) passing by, apparently on either side of the rickshaw drivers; as it rendered Covent Garden justifiably in a vibrant light. However, this also meant I had to create intricate layer masks in order to keep the rickshaw drivers free of tourists crossing their path. This was because the layers where I had taken the ghostly figures from, filled the whole of the frame, because the rickshaw drivers had left their positions shortly after I captured their initial shorter exposure. Lastly, I was quite pleased that this photograph featured two rickshaw drivers as the stationary figures; just because it added extra interest for the viewer and kept variety.
Camera settings for Photograph 7 were:
Because I took multiple exposures and combined them (one for the rickshaw drivers 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 rickshaw drivers and then a setting representative for one of the long exposures.
Rickshaw drivers exposure:
f/5.6, 1/30s, ISO 400, focal length 35mm and no neutral density filter. A tripod and cable release were used.
f/11, 13 seconds, ISO 80, focal length 35mm and a 5 stop neutral density filter. A tripod and cable release were used.
Coventgarden.uk.com. (n.d.). Covent Garden Station. [online] Available at: http://www.coventgarden.uk.com/streets/covent-garden-station [Accessed 18 Nov. 2015].
I had scoured Oxford Street up and down one day; looking in particular for street sign holders but in actual fact keeping my eye out for anything still, which contrasted with the hordes of shoppers and tourists populating the pavements here. Having found nothing noteworthy (in my eyes) of photographing as subject matter; definitely not a street sign holder as I had envisaged from my experience in the past of there being quite a few along Oxford Street, I had almost given up on this particular subject matter.
However, as I was coming away from photographing the tourist guide another day, I spied a rare street sign holder in the Seven Dials area; just North West of Covent Garden. I had all my photographic equipment with me (from photographing the tourist guide) and I knew this was a fantastic opportunity to get this shot, so I set up my tripod quickly, on the other side of the street conveniently, while he remained motionless. I knew now that photographing the still element of the photograph; in this case the street sign holder, was my main priority. This was because I could still keep the tripod in the same place, if he left and then I could continue shooting the rush of passer’s by afterwards for the ghostly figures effect.
Pretty much everything went to plan: firstly I used faster shutter speeds of 1/10s for the street sign holder, for example and then once I was satisfied with one of these exposures, I started experimenting with longer shutter speeds, ranging from 4 – 10 seconds for the ghostly figures of the tourists passing by. I tried to keep the tripod in the same place for each of the shots as with the other photographs for the assignment so minimal alignment was necessary for these layers in Adobe Photoshop afterwards. One aspect of this shot I didn’t see coming (because they never ventured there!), was that hardly any tourists travelled down the middle of the road. I found this a bit unfortunate as it would have made the contrast between these tourists and the street sign holder more visible, I felt. I ascertained this was the case, because they could see my camera pointing in that general direction and didn’t want to be a part of the shot! Nevertheless, I was fairly content with the number of distinguishable passers by, in comparison to Photographs 3 and 4.
I was pleased with the amount of information evident on the street sign itself: the ’20 metres’ and arrow pointing, provided the viewer with some sort of spatial orientation as to where the ‘Rokit’ shop itself was. Meanwhile, the sign and its holder stood out very well from the rest of the photograph but not too much in my opinion; they still seemed to ‘belong’ there.
The place where they ‘belonged’, was nearby to Seven Dials; looking down to Neal Street and intersected by Earlham Street. The Seven Dials area; was built in 1690 by Thomas Neale. ‘By adopting a star shaped plan with six radiating streets (subsequently seven were laid out), he dramatically increased the number of houses which could be built on the site. – (The Seven Dials Trust, n.d.). Although his plans were positive: he ‘had a vision for the area to rival the recently constructed Covent Garden’ – (Paterson, 2011); ‘fortunately for him he did not live to see the locality become one of London’s most notorious slums’ – (Paterson, 2011). As a result, ‘He would perhaps be more happy today that a stroll up Neal Street is part and parcel of most trendy shoppers’ Covent Garden experience. (Paterson, 2011).
Camera settings for Photograph 6 were:
Because I took multiple exposures and combined them (one for the street sign holder 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 street sign holder and then a setting representative for one of the long exposures.
Street sign holder exposure:
f/2.8, 1/10s, ISO 1600, focal length 35mm and no neutral density filter. A tripod and cable release were used.
f/10, 5 seconds, ISO 200, focal length 35mm and no neutral density filter. A tripod and cable release were used.
Paterson, M. (2011). February | 2011 | London Historians’ Blog. [online] Londonhistorians.wordpress.com. Available at: https://londonhistorians.wordpress.com/2011/02/ [Accessed 18 Nov. 2015].
Sevendials.com. (n.d.). The Seven Dials Trust (formerly the Seven Dials Monument Charity). [online] Available at: http://www.sevendials.com/seven_dials.htm [Accessed 18 Nov. 2015].
I was was quietly pleased to bump into this charming person, who was a tourist guide for the North Bank. Out of the seven shots I have ended up taking for the assignment, he was the only person I had confidence in going up to and asking if they would pose for the ‘freeze’ shot, before taking the long exposure shots of people rushing by. My lack of confidence in not going up to the other ‘still members of London’, was not because I was afraid to ask them but more that they would simply say ‘no’ and the opportunity would be lost. However, with this particular tourist guide, I felt it was worth trying as I might get a better expression. I think I got an expression, which showed his professionalism, without necessarily showing I had asked him to pose for the camera. Therefore, I could also make sure there was a large gap between the ghosts of figures passing by in the long exposure shots and himself as he posed for the camera in the decisive exposure.
I was much happier this time round with the obviousness of the ghostly figures in this shot, compared to Photographs 3 and 4, even though this was also a night shot. There were more tourists moving in obvious patterns (straight towards or away from the camera) as well as the lighting quality being better on this street leading up from the Strand to Covent Garden. This street is named: ‘Southhampton Street … from Covent Garden Piazza to the Strand … was laid out between December 1706 and May 1710’ – (London County Council, 1970).
A small touch, which was only noticeable upon closer inspection but which I felt added to the atmosphere of the photograph, were the presence of ‘semi-ghosts’, evident sitting or standing on the right hand side of the frame by restaurant or cafe seating and doors. I also liked the overall composition, where the tourist guide was separated form the tourists by the map bisecting vertically the near middle of the frame. The tourist guide looked smartly-dressed yet approachable, which I supposed was in his occupation but him standing next to the map gave him extra authenticity and in some ways, he looked as much a part of London as the map. This was typified by his bowler hat – ‘an icon long associated with the city of London’ (Long, 2014).
Camera settings for Photograph 5 were:
Because I took multiple exposures and combined them (one for the tourist guide 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 tourist guide and then a setting representative for one of the long exposures.
Tourist guide exposure:
f/3.5, 1/5s, ISO 640, focal length 20mm and no neutral density filter. A tripod and cable release were used.
f/11, 8 seconds, ISO 125, focal length 20mm and no neutral density filter. A tripod and cable release were used.
Long, T. (2014). The History of the Bowler Hat. [online] Gresham.ac.uk. Available at: https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/the-history-of-the-bowler-hat [Accessed 18 Nov. 2015].
Sheppard, F. (1970). Survey of London: Volume 36, Covent Garden. In. British-history.ac.uk. (2015). Southampton Street and Tavistock Street Area: Southampton Street | British History Online. [online] Available at: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol36/pp207-218 [Accessed 18 Nov. 2015].
This fourth photograph for the assignment, I felt, would meet my proposed target audience well, because the location was quite recognisable and would particularly be of notice to commuters using this train station.
‘The original Charing Cross station building, commissioned by the South Eastern railway and opened on 11 January 1864, was designed by architect Sir John Hawkshaw.’ – (Architecture.com, 2015). However, ‘the appearance of the station soon altered with the completion of the Charing Cross hotel … in 1865’ – (Architecture.com, 2015), which is apparent behind the Evening Standard seller in my photograph. The hotel was built by Edward Middleton Barry in the French Renaissance style in May 1865. ‘Today, Charing Cross is still a busy commuter station, handling over 37 million people every year – (NetworkRail.co.uk, 2014). I wanted to attempt to capture some of that busyness by photographing the Evening Standard seller beside the station, during the rush hour.
As well as attracting my target audience, I felt there was a lot of character present in the photograph; not least from the Evening Standard seller, prominent in the frame. I had ironically captured him at quite a decisive moment; despite the fact that many people had somehow been rushing past him, while he remained in the exact same position: looking ardently for potential customers. This visual discrepancy didn’t take away from the apparent authenticity of the photograph, for me, as it stayed quite natural. This perhaps signified how used people had become to the Evening Standard seller as a stationary part of London life and they momentarily forgot he was in the act of moving in the photograph (it did for me at least).
Despite taking many long exposures for the people rushing by, I was a bit dissatisfied with the seemingly small amount of ghost figures induced from these long exposures. I would again put this down to time of day and lack of quality lighting as I tried shutter speeds ranging from 2 to 6 seconds for the long exposures. As it was, the ghost figures were more apparent closer to the station as the quality of lighting increased and the general flow pattern of people was more evident. There wasn’t a lack of people passing by near the foreground either. In fact, I had to wait quite patiently and fervently for an ‘opening’ to appear, where the Evening Standard seller was separate from the crowd in his kiosk.
Camera settings for Photograph 4 were:
Because I took multiple exposures and combined them (one for the Evening Standard seller and a handful for the long exposures of the tourists/commuters passing by), I have written down the settings separately for firstly the photograph to ‘freeze’ the Evening Standard seller and then a setting representative for one of the long exposures.
Evening Standard seller exposure:
f/4, 1/20s, ISO 3200, focal length 22mm and no neutral density filter. A tripod and cable release were used.
f/9, 3.2 seconds, ISO 250, focal length 22mm and no neutral density filter. A tripod and cable release were used.
Architecture.com. (2015). Charing Cross railway station. [online] Available at: https://www.architecture.com/Explore/Buildings/CharingCross.aspx [Accessed 18 Nov. 2015].
I felt I managed to show London and some of its inhabitants well in this photograph. This was because they were clearly in the context of enjoying London, with the London Eye being the most prominent landscape feature, clearly visible within the frame. The inhabitants included passing crowds on a bridge popular with tourists in my experience: one of the Golden Jubilee bridges between the Embankment and the South Bank. The other inhabitant was someone, who I felt I could relate with; namely another photographer; apparently taking photos of the London Eye. This person was obviously absorbed and concentrating on his photography, which I felt lent to the character of the image and meant he was fairly unmindful of the channel of tourists behind him, which I also captured in the eventual photograph. This conveyed how the photographer was wrapped up in his own thoughts as he took photographs and so I was pleased with how compositionally he was in the middle of the frame; with the rest of the frame seemingly based around him.
One area I felt the photograph could somehow be improved on, was how obvious the flow of people across this Golden Jubilee bridge appeared to the viewer. Although the flow of people was just discernible as a flow of people, I don’t think it was prominent enough in the frame to make up an intended main element of the photograph. I put this down to one key factor: this being the time of day and quality of lighting on this flow of people. Had the time of day and therefore quality of lighting been more similar to Photograph 2, the flow of people would have been more easily apparent. I had experimented with various long shutter speeds (ranging from 4 – 15 seconds) and decided the shutter speed of 8 seconds for the flow of people gave the best results. Nevertheless, in my opinion, the long exposure effect for the flow of people only just caught the eye.
Conceptually, I thought this photograph was interesting, because it offered a different way of looking at London; namely at another photographer looking at London. The fact that he was in profile added to this twist, where it showed him in context but gave the viewer an insight into what he was photographing simultaneously.
The Golden Jubilee Bridges or Hungerford Footbridges, built in 2002; ‘you get some spectacular views across London, with the London Eye, County Hall and the Houses of Parliament on one side’ – (LondonTown.com, 2015). This was the side the photographer I was photographing, was shooting from and so it would seem he was attempting to capture one or more of these views in a single shot; which gives further insight into what he was thinking/photographing.
Camera settings for Photograph 3 were:
Because I took multiple exposures and combined them (one for the photographer 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 photographer and then a setting representative for one of the long exposures.
f/3.5, 1/13s, ISO 2500, focal length 13mm and no neutral density filter. A tripod and cable release were used.
f/11, 8 seconds, ISO 200, focal length 13mm and no neutral density filter. A tripod and cable release were used.
LondonTown. (2015). Hungerford Bridge in London. [online] Available at: http://www.londontown.com/LondonInformation/Sights_and_Attractions/Hungerford_Bridge/a758/ [Accessed 18 Nov. 2015].
Obviously set with St Paul’s Cathedral in the background, I felt this was a powerful image in the series and one I had been contemplating and hoping would materialise in the form of a photograph, ever since I had come up with the idea of turning a space into a place in this manner.
I had observed many caramelised peanut sellers located on or around different London bridges, particularly the Millennium Bridge as I had been photographing different landscapes in London. I had also often noticed how still they were standing as they waited for prospective customers (mainly tourists) coming over bridges like the Millennium Bridge. Because of these facts, when I came up with this theme for Assignment 3 – ‘Spaces to Places’, I recognised quite soon this would be a strong contribution to the theme; provided I could get the shot.
Here is some information about the Millennium Bridge, upon which I took the photograph. ‘Opposite Tate Modern, the new Millennium Bridge – a footbridge designed by Norman Foster with the sculptor Anthony Caro and engineered by Ove Arup – arcs gracefully over the river [Thames] to St Paul’s’ – (Godfrey-Faussett, 2001). I chose the angle looking towards St Paul’s (designed in 1675 by Sir Christopher Wren) from the Millennium Bridge, mainly because it was more iconic in my eyes, than the Tate Modern.
The very modern aesthetics of the Millennium Bridge contrasts with the old, iconic building of St Paul’s; yet at the same time, the bridge leads the viewer’s eye towards the cathedral neatly and then back to the caramelised peanut seller in the corner (where the bridge ends within the frame). Again, similar to Photograph 1 for this assignment, the worker (the peanut seller) remains still; patiently waiting for customers while the other people in the form of ghostly, long exposure figures, stream by. Due to his placement in the corner of the frame, it almost appears as though he is looking in the wrong direction for customers, which I felt added a bit of humour to the photograph (of course there were many other potential customers in the other direction too). Also his dark clothing, compared to the medium tones of the tourists rushing by and then finally the much lighter St Paul’s (incidentally catching the Sun’s light) in the distance, showed his stationary, solid form yet temporary position on the bridge, in comparison to the moving tourists. In fact, the tourists almost acted as a link in between St Paul’s and the seller.
The Millennium Bridge was originally dubbed the “Wobbly Bridge” – ‘when it opened in the summer of 2000 its experimental design caused an alarming wobble’- (Godfrey-Faussett, 2001). I found it hadn’t been fully corrected. As I was attempting to take the long exposure shots for the flow of people, I noticed the long exposures were quite shaky; despite me using a sturdy tripod and a cable release. This, I deduced, was because the bridge was moving slightly. I had to be careful which parts of the long exposure I ‘painted in’ on a layer mask for the long exposure layer in post processing. This was in order to ensure that everything apart from the flow of people (and to a lesser degree the clouds), appeared sharp.
Camera settings for Photograph 2 were:
Because I took multiple exposures and combined them (one for the caramelised peanut seller 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 caramelised peanut seller and then a setting representative for one of the long exposures.
Caramelised peanut seller exposure:
f/8, 1/250s, ISO 100, focal length 35mm and no neutral density filter. A tripod and cable release were used.
f/11, 16 seconds, ISO 160, focal length 35mm and a 10 stop neutral density filter. A tripod and cable release were used.
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].