Exercise: Evidence of action.

I read in the introduction to this module that a news photograph can fall short of much technique and compositional mastery but still be extremely important in conveying a story.

There has been lots of action going on around me this month but there has to be decisions made about how we respond. In the absence of other people being around to respond on a human level then the camera has to be put down.  Not least when my mother’s house disappeared in smoke last month.  The scenario would have been perfect to photograph for any fire safety campaign but I felt that getting the camera out in this scenario wasn’t appropriate.

However once the chaos of the next 10 minute after the microwave burst into flames and the potential nightmare had been resolved (albeit  my lungs took in at least 5 fills of acrid smoke) I did grab the camera and took a photograph that the course notes had alluded to.

Here we can see the microwave on the patio and in the background you can see the smoke in the house.  We can also see my camera bag  in the shot and my focus is totally out! But the photography does document that moment. There is no other evidence that the situation ever evolved……



This image has no photographic merit at all though and if I’d not said that this microwave had caught fire and filled the house with smoke then it would be difficult to piece together events. This is why photographers need to think about how to convey a story.

Later on in the month a garage caught fire in my village. Because of explosions I couldn’t get near the scene. A panoramic view of smoke hanging over the village was all I could muster and there isn’t any other clue within the image as to the events unfolding.

One motorway fire and a motorbike accident also took place but safety had to come first.

So I will go an create something that this exercise requires and that is to answer the brief of using symbolism and juxtaposition to convey a concept……

And here is a simple image to meet the exercise brief.  Spilt milk is symbolic of life and its mishaps. If this was an insurance company to use this or, perhaps a divorce specialist then the slogan might be. “We’ll pick up the problem and help clear the mess.”





Exercise: Narrative and Juxtaposition.

This exercise was designed to make us think about narrative and the photographs needed to illustrate a story.  Thought needed to be given to equipment, location and also how to lead a viewer through the story.

I decided to document a calligrapher at work.  The office was extremely small and thought had to go into how to negotiate the difficulties of the size and layout of the office. The shoot was only possible with my Sony a55 and a variety of lenses. The flip screen of the a55 and the wide angle lens were the most important pieces of equipment.  When I do documentary work I like my subjects to be genuinely working and therefore I don’t use photographic lighting as it can cause distractions and even be dangerous in confined settings.

Image 1. For use as a front page or a filler illustration of equipment needed for the calligraphy task. I juxtaposed the equipment on the table with the cover of the reference book to make it look as if equipment on the desk had walked out from the instructional book cover. A 35mm prime lens was used for this.



Image 2. This introduces the environment and the subject to give some context. I had no other option but to use an 11 – 16 lens. Some distortion is evident but it doesn’t distract at all unless you are looking for the distortion.  I was careful to make sure that the essential elements of the image suffered as little distortion as possible.  The ‘dead space’ above is suitable for text or an overlapping image.  PLEASE CLICK ON CONTINUE READING JUST BELOW.

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Exercise: Rain.

I found this exercise a little exasperating. “Imagine a magazine about rain and design an original photograph for the front cover”  BUT it had to leave the viewer in no doubt about the  subject.

So having had 3 months of solid rain and biblical flooding not far from here, the sun has come out and, at the time of writing, I am yet to see a downpour that I can respond to. I have an idea but it isn’t especially original and I need to wait until the forecast is right.  I explored ‘rain’ ideas in part 4 of  The Art of Photography so I have included the link here should the weather not change in-between now and before I hand in the last assignment.


However, in the meantime, I have been playing with different ideas but they fall short of the brief.

Image 1. I took this image of the Tate Modern as a reflection in a puddle.  The effect of the sun capturing the rain drops in the trees and the texture of the Tate Modern towers lends itself to a concept that Paul Munson MA studied for his dissertation. Very loosely he looked at photography as not only the 3D product but as a 2D effect of ink on paper. The abstract nature of this image appeals to me and fits in with the added theme of The Tate Modern. By cross processing I have added the 3 D depth but still retained a 2D surface texture that can be enjoyed as such.

However, this image would need verbal prompting; but a magazine about rain would provide that prompt.

I sent this image (albeit without the brief ) to Paul Munson to look at as it was inspired by his work.

He said…

“Looking at your picture again, it has something of a mystery about it, and also a vulnerability- there’s a tenuous grasp of something quite vague as though we are caught between three dimensions and two. The surface is is resisting the image and hence the kind of delicate look and flatness – although there is a vague sense of depth. The surface (actual surface) is more compelling and that is, for me, where photography becomes interesting. That’s why impressionists were on to something. A rejection of depth and priority of the surface. Because the pictures are surfaces and they wanted to be honest about that.”

Image 1.

Exercise: Rain.

Image 2.

This is a more conventional image. Taking the greenery away encourages the viewer to look at the rain aspect and the structure and effect of the water on the leaf.  The ‘dead’ space allows for titles and other text.




Image 3.

More conventional but more abstract then Image 2.  200mm with OCF popped. Again, taking the colour, away encourages the viewer to notice the abstract pattern created by the rain bouncing off the the concrete.




http://www.paulmunson.net/made/  Last accessed 12/04/2014



I am frustrated with myself. They are boring with maybe the exception of image 1 but it doesn’t scream out “rain” to the viewer. I prefer the rain work I did in the last unit.

Exercise: Symbols

For this exercise thought needs to be given to symbolism. Below are 5 headings that were given to consider. The lists will be added to as I go through this module and I see and consider new ideas. There will also be supplementary symbolism research

Crime:  Prison bars, handcuffs, broken windows, knives, guns, money, graffiti, Police, drug paraphernalia, police tape, injury.

Growth: Height chart, seedlings, crops, comparison of size, financial indexes on upward trend.

Poverty: Empty fridge, dirt, ill fitting clothes, pasty complexions, tatty furniture, begging, homelessness, cold lighting.

Excess: Obesity, designer clothing, decadent home, sports car, alcoholic, luxury items, warm lighting.

Silence: Ear plugs, isolated landscape, lone person, volume control turned to down, empty buildings, darkness of night.