New Blog….

Following on from several succesful (I think) Street photography trips to London, and a Canon Sponsored double page feature in this months Photography News… and in no way connected to the fact this blogs limit is bulging and spilling over.

I am creating a brand new self hosted website centering around my street and urban photography adventures it’s also connected to my INSTAGRAM

Announcing…..

Londonist Captures

The intent is to showcase some of my imagery from London and other towns and citys as well as eventually be a guide to those places for fellow creatives.

You’ll see images such as these.

Please do consider taking a look and perhaps subscribing to the site as I would love it to grow.

London Street at 35mm

I must admit to being a tad forgetful when it comes to updating the blog these past few months. I am so busy flitting here and there trying to find a style, a niche or a type of photography I enjoy.

Recently I’ve been taking a few trips to London and trying some varied styles of street photography. Here are just a few images from a recent trip.

As you can see they vary widely in not only colour, composition and style but also subject. All have one thing in common that they are taken at 35mm on my Eos R, a camera that I love.

Some Decay/Rust shots from Portland

Unit 1: Visual Recording in Art and Design – Criteria P 2, 4, 5

So today I visited Portland near Weymouth. Famous for its stone and lighthouse, Portland Bill, and battered by the sea for centuries. Perfect for the types of shots I wanted as much of the metal machinery has been eaten away at by the sea air and the paint on the sheds doesn’t last long.

All the shots below are straight from Camera so have yet to be edited and tweaked but ready they look like the surface of alien planets, deep. Colours and rippling textured surfaces…. Nasa could save alot of money by popping along to Portland rather than sending satellites to Mars…

I am very pleased with the shots I got and will be even more pleased when I get to edit them and start thinking about which ones I will choose and how to display them.

For now though I’m done with the specific places I wanted to visit and can enjoy the rest of holiday.

Transformation – Coastal texture

Unit 1: Visual Recording in Art and Design – Criteria P 2, 4, 5

A quick outing to Mudeford Quay today brought some Interesting textures. Following the line of thought of Transformation of surface Definately possibilities for the Final project. Yet to figure out whether these would be best presented in colour or black and white but I like both so the choice may not be easy. The vivid colours of the rust look just as eye-catching in black and white. These are basic edits so there is further exploration to be done here.

The macro lens really helped here most of these tiny scenes are less than 5cm long. All present a tiny abstract view of the object, a total disconnect from its reality.

From rust eating away at a ships anchor to peeling paint on a boat through to the bark peeling away from a tree. All symbolise a material transformation brought on by decay of one form or another. And a transformation of perception of the actual subject.

I’ll continue this during the weeks other visits.

Transformations of Surface.

Unit 1: Visual Recording in Art and Design – Criteria P 1, 3

After today’s class I think I have honed more in on my idea for the Final Transformations set. Obviously other avenues will be explored whilst I am away on holiday such as seascapes and other bits but I really do like the idea of Transformation of a Surface.

Let’s face it whether in nature or man made almost all surfaces are subject to decay, degradation and rot in one way or another whether through nature or man’s intervention . This idea was compounded more after seeing Aaron Siskinds work at the Shape of light Exhibition.

Zig also introduced us to Minor White who’s images offer surreal and impressionistic abstracts. Full of texture and contrast

Seeing some work by Lucy Shires further inspired me.

Showing the change or transformation of a Surface in a close up way making it almost abstract, detached from its reality and hopefully unrecognisable for what it is. Of course, you can see rust on metal and rot on wood, peeling paint and flaking metal but in that closeness it ceases to be the whole object, the only thing that matters is the small area and its material change.

Islands of flaky paint on a sea of rusted metal looking for all intents and purposes like an alien landscape from above.

Peeling and flaking paint showing the layer of years of repainting and recovering.

I’m hoping to discover flaky painted beach huts or old boats, perhaps Machinery or heavy plant left for dead or used daily, these sorts of things always gather rust in the dents dings and cracks caused by constant weathering and battering from the elements.

I will try to get as many angles and viewpoints as I can for this but discussions with Zig steer me towards a flat plane type image 90 degrees to the subject taking away all idea of if this subject is laying, standing or flying. Total detachment from its actual state.

Anyway I will see what the next few weeks bring…..

Transformation – Aaron Siskind

Unit 1: Visual Recording in Art and Design – Criteria P 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

More and more I am finding myself drawn to the theme of Rust, Rot and Decay as previously blogged HERE. Today, as part of our visit to The Shape of Light exhibition at the Tate, One photographer in the surfaces and textures themed room of the exhibition stood out to me as someone who very much encapsulated the type of images I have recently been taking, and considering as an approach for this term, and that is Aaron Siskind. Here’s a quick bio.

Aaron Siskind (December 4, 1903 – February 8, 1991) was an American photographer. He is considered to be closely involved with, if not a part of, the abstract expressionist movement.
Aaron Siskind was born to a Russian-Jewish immigrant family in New York City. The first art forms to catch his interest were poetry and music, which led him to believe he would become a writer. After graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School, Siskind earned his Bachelor of Social Science degree in Literature from the College of the City of New York in 1926 and went on to teach English in the New York City public school system for 21 years.

A camera given as a gift for his wedding to Sidonie Glaller in 1930 galvanized his interest in photography. He was said to have spent much of his honeymoon taking pictures in Bermuda.

“We look at the world and see what we have learned to believe is there. We have been conditioned to expect.. but, as photographers, we must learn to relax our beliefs.”

It was in the 1940s that Siskind’s photographic interests moved away from socially centred, literal documentary works toward the more formal, poetic, conceptual images for which he became internationally renowned. This shift from document to metaphor embodied images of weathered fragments and textured surfaces through which he explored ideas of decay, fragmentation, and regeneration.

He created pictures by closing in on his subjects, framing out distracting elements to enhance the emotional sense and concentrate the viewer on the aspect he found compelling. Later he focused on surfaces to further condense the energies of splashed paint, graffiti marks and crumbling materials. In his later work he focused on natural formations — tree trunks and lava fields — where he isolated expressive figurative forms. Siskind was an explorer of the visual world, and as he travelled he created pictures he hoped would express enduring truths about human experience.

Aaron Siskind found emotional joy and tension in the process of discovering subjects and photographing them. His photographs emphasise the lines, textures and shapes of objects. The photograph on the top is of a wall which has been painted and postered, but Aaron has taken a photograph when both the paint and paper has started to peel off.

The photograph on the underneath is of a brick wall, however he has used an interesting camera angle to capture the surface texture and formation.
I like these photographs as I like the way that Siskind has captured the details of the different surfaces. I also like the way he has used different camera angles to capture more of the surface, having the bottom part focused, and the top blurred using Dof techniques to emphasise the scale. I love how his other photographs show the textures of decayed layers. I have previously taken some similar style images below.

I also have taken a few in the past which I think also look great and very abstract for Nature images. They show the contrast and fragmentation of natural objects in a constant change.

I had started to shoot in a similar way HERE last week in London and Zig said to try a flat surface approach rather than angles or angular surfaces so I will be looking into that this week and whilst away on holiday as I am sure I can find many rusting and decaying surfaces at the coast. As I mentioned above I am increasingly finding my gaze narrowed in on this project to a final theme or potential outcome which is great, and of course has to happen, but I really want to keep a few avenues open for this until I can pare down the idea to a final outcome.

Shape of light exhibition

Unit 1: Visual Recording in Art and Design – Criteria P 1, 3

So today myself and Alexa went to The Shape of Light exhibition at the Tate Gallery. An exhibition dedicated to 100 years of abstract photography and art. Unfortunately photography wasn’t allowed so I have very little to show other than stock shots.

Shape of Light is the first major exhibition to explore the relationship between the two, spanning the century from the 1910s to the present day. It brings to life the innovation and originality of photographers over this period, and shows how they responded and contributed to the development of abstraction.
Key photographs are brought together from pioneers including Man Ray and Alfred Stieglitz, major contemporary artists such as Barbara Kasten and Thomas Ruff, right up to exciting new work by Antony Cairns, Maya Rochat and Daisuke Yokota, made especially for the exhibition.

I must admit to firstly being somewhat underwhelmed at the exhibition. Some of the work was amazing whilst other pieces left me wondering why they were included in an abstract art exhibition as they were nude figures and to me abstract should Be something that leaves you wondering what it is or how the artist intended you to perceive it. Now, I have seen others use human forms in abstract but in a subtle way so the images I saw seemed very out of place amongst the macro/cyanotypes/minimalist and other more experimental works on show.

Overall the more abstract Imagery from some of the Russian and German influenced schools of photography were the more experimental images and the cubist influence showed in many of the photographic images (as well as the more usual painted canvases) which had shadows and patterns on concrete cast by objects.

There was even an installation of Images which at first I thought were negatives but turned out to be images that the artist London-based Antony Cairns had uploaded to kindle screens. When they set in the e-ink he has taken the screens out so the image was permenantly fixed into the electronic ink. His shadow-images of London at night have a ghostly atmosphere. The e-ink screens were framed in Perspex and shown in a large grid, each one a glimpse of a cityscape, indistinct yet recognisable, familiar yet unknowable.

Some works really stood out for me as very relevant to the Decay project I am Working on and those were works by Aaron Siskind concentrating on surface and texture as an abstract subject and this is the work I found to be most interesting, the sometimes subtle tonal changes contrasted with massive shifts in inage contrast and tone between the peeling paint and rusting surfaces which is exactly what I am Looking at for this terms project. Showing that surfaces are in constant transition either through decay, vandalism or improvement.

Transformations – Intentional Camera Movement ICM

Unit 1: Visual Recording in Art and Design – Criteria P 1, 3

Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) photography is a type of photography which can also be put in the same category as an abstract style of shooting that has no rules – it all comes down to moving your camera over a longer than normal exposure. I have never really tried this type of photography but looking into it now after our last project has brought the artistic side of photography more to my mind. Instead of just taking pictures with my camera I can now try “painting” with it, and the sensor as my canvas.

So what are the main methods of camera movement during ICM photography, well simply moving the camera during an exposure can give the effect but in the images I have seen there is usually a set preference toward one of 3 ways of moving the camera.

Panning

Panning vertically or horizontally is one of the most popular forms of ICM photography. You can either do this handholding the camera or placing it on a tripod. A tripod can give you more of a precise motion and if you level the tripod beforehand you can get perfectly straight horizons and a steadier pan. You can use a ball head or three-way pan-and-tilt head for this but I would imagine one with a level turn motion is better.

Zooming

When you use a zoom lens you can move the zoom in or out whilst the shutter is open and this can create some interesting effects in the shots in which it seems like objects are being thrown towards the camera. I would imagine a steady hand is needed for best effect on this or again as above a tripod.

Rotation

You can rotate the camera in a 360° motion or any varying amount of degrees up to that, as much of a turn as you can or even just a little depending on the effect you want to see. You could even combine this with panning to get some very psychedelic light trails.

Subjects

There is a wide range of subject matter which would make great potentially artistic subjects and as you see below the outcomes are all very arty indeed. I do like the painterly effect it gives and I feel it suits trees and flower covered landscapes particularly well. I will go through a few subjects below that I have noticed in quite a few of the ICM images I have come across in my research.

Trees and flower covered areas look to be a great subject for ICM photography as you can find them pretty much anywhere. You can move your camera in any direction to get something interesting and doing so stretches out the shape of the tree and can give images a pleasingly coloured stripy result.

Sunsets and sunrises can deliver a huge burst of colours from deep oranges to subtle blues. For this you’d probably need an ND filter to increase the shutter to a usable length to allow for movement because of the brightness of the sun.

Town or city lights could also be used to great effect for this style and you can use the evening lights as inspiration for your images, I hope to have a go at experimenting with the effects that can be created when applying the methods mentioned above. The potential subjects in london are wide and varied.

The thing that I notice about ICM photography is that potentially anything can be a good subject for an image. You don’t really know how the shot will turn out until you press the shutter button, so it’s probably worth giving something a go if you think it might work.

I hope to have a try at this further down the line this term and will update the blog with any results and the methods I used.

Transformation – Abstract

Unit 1: Visual Recording in Art and Design – Criteria P 1, 3

As part of transformation to me suggests transforming of a perception or visual reference of an object, person or landscape I thought I would do a little post on abstract as a photographic topic or technique. It will be a while until I set my ideas for the project in stone so I am investigating all potential routes that I can think of and one of the techniques that immediately jumped out when looking at the ideas on my mind map chart was Abstract.

Abstract photography, sometimes called non-objective, experimental or conceptual photography, is a way of photographing things so that the results don’t immediately have an association to the object or subject of the shot and can often have little or no resemblance to the subject or theme at first sight. I am a member of a group on facebook which deals with this type of photography and must say sometimes I spend an age trying to work out what a still life abstract image is and even longer working out the meaning of some of the other artwork on the group based on conceptual and experimental photography.

Photography as an art form is usually reliant on the viewer looking at all the parts of a image and forming a meaning based on their world experiences and placing that into context within the image. Abstract photography removes context, So it frees you up to create the meaning you wish to convey in the manner you choose… so hopefully the viewer will be able to look at something in a completely new light.

Abstract photography is the art of stripping away parts of the image that form recognition and and stripping down perception within the work. It helps to have a good eye for detail and the ability to see an object (perhaps a common everyday item) as its individual parts rather than the whole. Abstract photography for me is a challenge and a pleasing passtime as I enjoy looking at the image and working things out. When we visited the Gursky exhibit there were many images which I would class as abstract as it took a moment to figure out what the image was.

P79322_10.jpg

Bahrain I 2005 Andreas Gursky born 1955 Purchased with funds provided by David Roberts 2007 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P79322

AndreasGursky-2429ff5659a777c88e56084a9c9958bc-1000.jpg

The above images to me are abstract as without really looking hard or reading the blurb it was nigh on impossible to dissect the image and gain an insight into what it was. Now these are examples of large scale abstracts but as with the images below you can also get Macro and close up shots of everyday items which when taken out of context can be both abstract and make for excellent images.

There are several ways and techniques to taking and producing abstract work and below I have detailed a few ways which can be combined or expanded upon to help produce abstract pictures

Macro

Part of “abstracting” an item comes from isolating a part of the whole. The best way to do that is to use a macro lens to get up close and personal with the details of a person, place or object. And yes you can just do it by cropping in but that leads to a loss of detail and resolution so its probably best to use a macro lens of set of close up filters or extension tubes.

Refraction/Reflection and Distortion

Abstract photography often makes use of objects and turns them into filters. Shooting through a glass bottle, a rain splattered window, or even just water might give you just the distortion or light refraction you need to create a really interesting and very abstract image.

Lines and Curves/Shapes

Line and curves within the image are going to give your viewer something to base their perceived meaning on and add visual interest. Without these shapes and lines within the image your eye would not travel through and across the image as easily and Zig has mentioned countless times how important that is. Instead, it would draw your eye to whatever element in the photo catches it first and keep it there.

So there we have a brief overview of Abstract and Abstraction and a few of the techniques and ideas to help create that style of image. Whether I use this in my final work remains to be seen but it has been interesting looking at it and I am sure it will appear somewhere along the line in this project.

Source – TATE