Final Photo Story Appraisal
For my photo story assignment I chose the theme of ‘fast’, primarily focusing on the quick pace of city life.
I chose this theme as I am very interested in street photography and haven’t yet had a proper opportunity to experiment with slow shutter speeds during the daytime since moving to a bigger city.
I had a number of different ideas after deciding on the theme ‘fast’ rather than ‘austerity’ or ‘raw’, however the approach I eventually took to this project was based on the idea of a ‘lunch break in the city’ and the various obstacles urban dwellers are faced with on a daily basis.
For my visual research for this assignment I researched various street photographers in order to find inspiration. I was most inspired by the works of Brian Soko, Martin Roemers and Richard Sandler. Brian Soko attempts to capture the quieter moments in his hometown of Chicago, concentrating on the people that make the city rather than the bricks and mortar. I tried to incorporate this into my work by using the people of Leeds as the subjects of my photographs and capturing the bustle of the inhabitants going about their everyday lives rather than focusing on the cities physical infrastructure. Martin Roemers specialises in metropolis photography and uses slow shutter speeds to portray fast moving life in the city. I took Roemers’ work into consideration when shooting my set of photographs for this module by using shutter speeds between 3 and 0.4 seconds in order to depict the commotion during rush hour. Richard Sandler is a well-known street photographer from New York whose work reflects elements that are typically found in the city for example yellow taxicabs and subway trains. I tried to take this into consideration when looking for potential locations for photo shoots for this assignment by finding well known landmarks associated with Leeds, for example the Town Hall, the Headrow and Briggate. When looking for potential locations I needed to find areas that would have a lot of movement in both the people and transport if I wanted to properly portray my chosen topic of fast moving city life. I took some time to walk around the town before deciding on any locations in order to find the places that would be most successful in demonstrating the story I wanted to put across.
One of my images shows a British Red Cross volunteer approaching a man who stereotypically wouldn’t be seen as someone likely to donate to a charity like this due to the way he looks and the way he is dressed. I watched as the man spoke to the volunteer for a few minutes before walking away, burying his head in his hands. This made me wonder what they had been discussing and why it had affected him in this way. I then merged the two photographs together to represent the unfolding of the scenario and to make the viewer question the story behind it.
Two of my images focus on the reliance on public transport in cities and how transportation such as buses are such a massive part in the day to day running of a city. I used a slow shutter speed to reflect the buses in motion therefore sticking to the theme of ‘fast’. I used the buses to frame the image and allow the paths to create a strong linear focal point that attracts the viewer’s eye. I adjusted the exposure, brightness, clarity and vibrance of these photographs to make the buses appear to almost be a flash of colour speeding through a dull city.
My favourite image I took for this set features a boy with the appearance of a typical student in Leeds crossing the road with buses captured in motion either side of him. I like the composition of this photograph because the buses frame it well with the island leading the eye to the centre of the image. Taken on the Headrow, one of the main streets in the city, this picture reflects the business during rush hour. I used Martin Roemers work as inspiration when planning the composition of these photographs, as I wanted to capture the quick pace of life in the city as he does without creating too many distractions away from the main focal point of the images.
I took another photograph, which shows a man on the left standing stationary and smoking a cigarette while a woman hurries past him. I think this image is effective because it represents the differing stories behind people in big cities and how we are not necessarily always aware of everything going on around us.
A number of the photographs I shot for this assignment revolve around the general hustle and bustle of the people of Leeds going about their everyday routine. Looking at these images makes me realise how much variation there is in large urban areas, with so many different backgrounds, cultures and styles. One of my other images features the bustle of customers visiting the new Trinity Shopping Centre in Leeds. Being quite well known for its large variety of retail locations I think this photograph represents the city well whilst also keeping within the topic of ‘fast’ because of the use of a slow shutter speed reflecting the movement of the people, giving the image a busier feel.
I took another photograph as I was walking which shows a group of teenagers hanging around in the town centre. Although this was an accidental photograph I was happy with how it came out as the motion of me walking combined with the slow shutter speed my camera was set to resulted in the image having an exciting impression. The fact that it focuses on a group of black teenagers loitering portrays the varying cultures and lifestyles cities have. As I was using the work of Brian Soko as inspiration I feel this photograph ties in well as it focuses on the people of the city rather than the artificial elements that make the city what it is.
For this task we had to take a photograph of something or some place in our favourite room that tells a story about ourself using the bounce flash technique from a external flash gun. I took these 3 photographs:
This image shows the noticeboard in my room which says a lot about me. On this board are my favourite photographs of me, friends and family, my university timetable and to-do list, a manual photography ‘cheat sheet’ as well as my calendar of the ‘Shaytards’ family whose daily videos I enjoy watching on YouTube.
This image shows my iMac which you will find me sitting at for the majority of the day for both work and leisure. However this was the final image I chose which I felt said the most about me. This photograph was taken on my bed, and as a massive sleep fan I spend a lot of time here. Also in this photograph are my 3 teddies, Iron Man (because Iron Man is awesome), Charlie the monkey who I’ve had for about 10 years and Oldy who I’ve had for about 16 years and has a lot of sentimental value. There is also an eye mask in this photo which essentially reflects my feelings towards ever having to leave my bed.
For the events assignment I attended the opening of Trinity Leeds, a new shopping centre in the city housing over 120 shops and restaurants. Over 130,000 people attended the two opening ceremonies on the 21st March 2013. The ceremony involved a Aerial Silk Acrobatic performance from Colette Morrow followed by a display of the world’s longest designer dress created by Henry Holland.
This is the photograph I chose as an overall shot describing what was happening during the event. I think it sums it up well as it shows the shopping centre itself, which was clearly the main purpose of my visit there. The image also reflects the amount of people that attended the ceremony.
This is the photograph I chose that sums up my experience of the event. Not only does the image include the main acrobatic performance, but also reflects the amount of people that were there which summarises my experience- a huge number of people eager to get to the front of the crowd.
This is the photograph I took reflecting somewhere you would expect to see my model:
This is the photograph I took of somewhere you wouldn’t expect to see my model:
I dressed my model in very feminine, summery clothes and felt a good location for a shoot that reflected somewhere you would expect to see her would be some kind of outdoor, open area to reflect both the typical summer activities of camping and festivals as well as the freedom of Summer. I think because of the warm tone, the image gives a radiant mood. I then took my model to a building that has been plastered with graffiti as I feel this would be a good example of where you wouldn’t find a feminine girl dressed as she was. I think the graffiti and dark tones of the image give the photograph a grunge like theme and ominous mood.
This is the portrait I took of somebody I know. In this photograph I wanted the viewer to learn more about the subject and her interests in a simple way. I think this image is successful because viewers can learn something about the character simply by seeing that she is holding a DSLR camera. Viewers may also notice that she is on a train, therefore may also enjoy travel as well as photography. I composed this photograph simply by keeping Rhian in the centre of the frame to prevent any distraction from the main focal point. I also timed the shot so that the sun was shining onto her hair, to represent this being a big part of Rhian’s individuality.
This is the portrait I took of somebody I don’t know. After noticing his extraordinary talent I promptly asked the man if I could take some photographs. I think this image was successful because the viewer learns about the subjects talents and hobbies right away. I oriented this photograph to be portrait rather than landscape to keep the focus and the majority of the frame towards the subject to prevent viewer distractions.
Both of the portraits I have displayed here tie together as they both tell the viewer about the subjects hobbies and interests. Both were composed simply to establish the viewers attention on the people in the photographs rather than external distractions. Although portraiture isn’t one of my preferred areas of photography, I quite enjoyed this assignment as I got to learn a lot about my subjects, especially the man I had never met, and overall I think my final images were a success.
This is the photograph I chose out of my set of final images that I feel not only describes Harrogate as a place, but also sums up our trip there. In the short time we spent there, I noticed there was quite a high number of church-like buildings. This reflects the historical location of Harrogate. I also became aware of the amount of ‘old style’ buildings, and that even modern shops and restaurants were placed in traditional buildings. I think this is a positive thing as often the historical parts of towns and cities in England are overshadowed by modern existence. I also feel this photograph sums up our trip to Harrogate, as there is a typical horror-like theme to it which reflects our anxiety of visiting an unknown place for the first time.
This is the photograph I chose that represents something I found there. This is an example of the detailed stonework atop many of the buildings which is often missed. I am a firm believer that we should always simply take a moment to look up, because you never know what you could be missing! I often take this into account when looking for inspiration during a shoot. This image again reflects the historical town of Harrogate and statues such as this make the viewer wonder what the story is behind them. There was a different piece of history around every corner I turned therefore I feel this photograph was appropriate to represent something I saw during my time there.
The recent news story I chose to research was the meteor shower in Russia that occurred on 15th February 2013. I found two separate news articles covering this story, one from the BBC and one from The Independent.
This article on the BBC News website uses small one/two sentence paragraphs, to keep the reader interested as well as a video news report to accompany the story. These both make the article more accessible to a wider audience. There are also several eyewitness accounts which make the story well informed and researched. The addresser of this text would be the writer, an unknown reporter for the BBC. The addressee of the text would be the broad target audience of the article, mainly adults who are interested in current affairs.
This article on The Independent website uses longer paragraphs, more similar to newspaper columns. This article also uses eyewitness statements making it trustworthy and informed. The Independent also allows members of the website to comment and reflect their opinions on articles. This gives the site a more social network feel. The addresser of this text would be the reporter, Roland Oliphant. The addressee of the text would again be the broad target audience, adults who perhaps often read The Independent newspaper.