Lecture and Exhibition.

On 23rd November I travelled to London for the RPS Lecture ‘Photography in a Connected Age.’  I am awaiting my note takers notes to arrive and will feed back in due course.

I also had the opportunity , all too briefly, to take in Victor Burgin’s ‘Sense of Place’ Exhibition.  I am still recovering from the trip but will update my learning log accordingly in due course.




Introduction to ‘Elements of Design’ exercises.

Below are the exercises undertaken for Assignment 2 ‘Element of Design’ Further research can be found under this link.


 Some of the exercises are more successful then others due to some concepts of design being familiar and others not so familiar.  As the coursework progressed and the research developed I found the concepts began to ‘fall into place’.  Hopefully the learning undertaken here will be better reflected in my assignment images that will be posted under the category of assignments and feedback in due course.

 The overall lessons of this module was to learn how to understand  the graphic element to composition. By dissecting different composition concepts we can identify what will work in an image. There are lots of new tools to add to the box and this has been an extremely valuable module for me.

Research link:

Rhythm and Pattern


  Repetition is a necessary ingredient to rhythm by doesn’t guarantee a sense of rhythm alone.   Sense of musical rhythm needs to also be apparent. Rhythm can be boring but can be used to give the eye time to travel across the frame to a point of interest. (Freeman,M.2007:49)


Gestalt law of continuation seems to plays a large part in the success of an image.

Examples of Rythm

– Gettleman, J. (2013). The Price of Precious. National Geographic. 125th anniversary edition (0), 51- 53.   Photographs by: Marcus Bleasdale

 In this National Geographic article Marcus Bleasdale has presented a very powerful set of images depicting the exploitation and hardship of gold miners in Democratic Republic of Congo.  On page 46 is a line of miners panning in a river and this composition of the line of men could almost be musical notes lifted from sheet music. The eye is taken from left to right scanning the scene but comes to rest on the front of the frame where the strongest detail of the work being undertaken is situated.


-George Steinmetz. (2013). Celebrate. National Geographic. 125th anniversary edition (1), 119. Photograph by: Simon Norfolk. Uxmal, Mexico.

This image is an architectural image of a Mayan ruin built in the Classic Period.  This image is where rhythm could be boring as Michael Freeman described (Freeman,M.2007:49) However, the law of continuation is punctuated by shafts of light that lifts the composition into a pleasing one.


 ….is associated with area and not direction as rhythm is.  The eye scans the entire image. The greater the number of ‘items’ present, the greater the sense of pattern. (Freeman,M.2007:49)


Examples of pattern.

 – Gettleman, J. (2013). The Price of Precious. National Geographic. 125th anniversary edition (0), 51 53.   Photographs by: Marcus Bleasdale

 On page 43 is another image from the Congo mining series.  Here a sodden and precarious bank of clay mud is broken up by intermittent workingmen woven together by lines of ‘pathways’.  The eye is taken in different direction by means of these paths from left to right. The implied lines takes our eyes from top to bottom and diagonally each way.

 – Byrne, D.  Images of Far East – Parasols. Available: http://www.dominicbyrne.com/photo_3742666.html. Last accessed 20th November 2013. 

 Photographer: Dominic Byrne ARPS (Finalist Landscape Photographer of the year 2013)

 This image of Parasols is a classic example of how pleasing pattern can be in terms of colour and texture.  The pattern of the parasols fills the frame with the ribs fanning out leading the eye in different directions.

Reflecting on assignment 2. What makes me tick?

As I come to considering my assignment submission, I have had to consider what makes me tick as a photographer.  I have enjoyed many challenging aspects of ‘Elements of Design’.  But, you see, my problem is that if I don’t feel any connection or passion then I can’t shoot for toffee….So, deciding on how to tackle the assignment was tricky.

 The options we were given for the assignment are ideal to demonstrate understanding of ‘elements of design’ and I am sure there are many students who will be able to dice up food stuffs or find flowers and produce wonderful work in an afternoon.  However, I know that if I spent the next decade on that theme, I would not produce anything pleasing.  I think my still life learning log ‘points’ exercise demonstrates perfectly well that still life is not ever going to be something I respond particularly well to, let alone want to submit and assignment for at this time.  I enjoy looking at such work and I have been playing for the last few weeks with different ideas but I think that, at this time, I am ‘flogging a dead donkey’.

 My enabler is currently unavailable, so landscapes are out of the question.

 I have therefore decided to give street detail a go.  I had taken ‘street detail’ to mean street furniture.  I went out around our local city centre and just couldn’t get a ‘feel’ for lampposts or the like without a human element.  I can take technically sound architectural images but not particularly creatively. I noted that one of my tutor’s comments was to show creativity and.  I kind of gave up on my first assignment outing and set about shooting for personal merriment but keeping design elements in mind.  When I came home I realised that I had a thread/ theme running through some images. Literal and metaphorical but they fell short of the instruction to make the items similar.  The theme that had emerged was triggered by a military parade in town that day.

 It took a good few days and turmoil to realise that what I was doing was shooting a sad story of some of my veterans I came across in my career during the mid 1990’s. I found this was something I needed to reflect on as my personal voice develops. I think that has been telling that much of my further research has centred around documentary photography.

 Still, I couldn’t get around the fact that a bottle of alcohol was not similar to a war memorial.

 I sent some images to my tutor but to be fair I was unable, at that point, to articulate what my problem was. I didn’t hear back so I took it that I just needed to sort myself out!! In the end I looked at some other blogs to see how other people had interpreted the assignment brief.

 I came to the conclusion that very few street detail assignment submissions had ‘similarity’ beyond that of the fact the image was in a street.  The tutor feedback was still positive so I have decided to run with street detail along with an overlapping theme.

 In deciding this I have probably made life much harder for myself.  My soul will be in this assignment images and that will make taking feedback even harder.  However, if I am to maximise the time on this undergraduate journey then I have to be true to myself.  It would be pointless applying new knowledge to themes that I am simply not interested in.  




I guess this will be a baby step into metaphor/conceptual/ story telling.  I have to start somewhere with it and I am hoping for a favourable response.


The desired learning outcomes are still demonstrated in each image and each image will also still work standalone.  Some images will be stronger then others but, then, that will be the case for a lot longer yet.