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PART 4/PHOTOGRAPHY/ASSIGNMENT 4

Jean Taylor

BA Honors Creative Arts

Creative Arts 1: Creative Arts Today

Part 4 – Photography

OCA Blog: jeanjeannieocablog.wordpress.com/

ASSIGNMENT 4

COLLAGE OF DISPARATE, COPIED IMAGES VERSUS A VISUAL COMPOSITION CAPTURED IN A FLEETING, UNREPEATABLE MOMENT – IS THIS FAKE ART V REAL ART?

The Hay Wain John Constable

John Constable, The Hay Wain (1821) –  National Gallery Website

Haywain with Cruise Missiles 1980 by Peter Kennard born 1949

Peter Kennard, Haywain with Cruise Missiles (1980) – Peter Kennard website

The following essay will investigate whether Peter Kennard, a photomontage photographer, is famous because of how he used a camera to capture other peoples images to raise awareness of political issues and therefore not a ‘real’ photographer, or whether he is an exceptional photographer because of how he took the photographs.  In 1980, Kennard created a photomontage called ‘Haywain with Cruise Missiles’ (1980).  This was a reinvention of the classic painting by John Constable ‘The Hay Wain’ (1821).  Tate Gallery describes a photomontage as “a collage constructed from a photograph…often used as a means of expressing political dissent”.  Tate (2019).  It is from this photograph I will question what photography is and whether it is Art or whether the subject being photographed and how it is presented, is the Art.

The two photographs shown above are of the same painting by Constable. The first one being the original painting held at The National Gallery. “Constable’s painting is based on a site in Suffolk, near Flatford on the River Stour. The hay wain, a type of horse-drawn cart, stands in the water in the foreground”. The National Gallery (2019). The second photograph is of Kennard’s photomontage, the same photograph with nuclear missiles on the haywain.  Kennard seemed more concerned about getting his message across about nuclear weapons, at the expense of defacing a photograph of a world renown masterpiece.  According to Richard Slocombe of The Guardian Newspaper, Kennard’s purpose for his images was to create something meaningful and to be able to get the message out to the world, Kennard was quoted as saying “For me, getting the work out into the world and used is as important as its production.” Slocombe (2015).

In order to get his message across to the world, Kennard used photography to create copies of images and had them printed onto leaflets, t-shirts and billboards. Slocombe (2015). ‘Haywain with cruise missiles’ was displayed on posters and leaflets to help with the Campaign Against Nuclear Disarmament (CND).  According to Jarvis Cocker, Kennard’s art “is uncompromising, brutal & hard-hitting – but also very beautiful. It’s beautiful because it wants to keep us alive. All of us”. Cocker (2019).  In my opinion, what Kennard was trying to achieve was admirable, however, the question can be asked was Kennard being a photographer in the true sense of the word? The Haywain with Missiles image was a photograph of a photograph of a painting that had been adapted by placing photographs of nuclear missiles on to the haywain in the picture. Does this make Kennard’s work ‘Fake Art’? It is not a photograph of an original scene of his choosing, it is a photograph of someone else’s art.

The creative aspects of Kennard’s works are his ability to get a political message out and across to the public by using photomontage.  Photography is necessary to convey his photomontage in its various forms.  His images focus on issues and political campaigns such as nuclear arms, war and police brutality.   One of his other famous political images is Santa’s Ghetto (2006), an image of a smiling Tony Blair taking a selfie with explosions in the background.  The purpose was to highlight Blair’s involvement in the war against Iraq. This photo was then framed by ‘Banksy’ and displayed in a Christmas grotto installation in London’s Oxford Street.  Does this make the photograph Art, or is it a form of plagiarism?  Neither of the photographs in this image belonged to Kennard.  The photos were put together on a computer to make it look like an original photo unlike his previous work ‘Haywain with Missiles’ which was said to have been cut with scissors and pasted with glue.  Either way, it was a photograph of a photograph, not an original scene taken from the camera of the photographer.  Both of the images mentioned are typical of Kennard’s style, ‘Cut and Paste’ as we used to call it at school and technically now on a computer.  This is how Photomontage could be described.  According to The Tate Gallery, Photomontage was created by Dadaists in 1915 “It is a technique that was first used at the start of the first world war by a group of artists trying to find a way to protest against the war using their art”.  Tate (2019).  This was a Time of war in 1915 that Art was being used to put a message out to the world, something Kennard has copied in his efforts to do the same but in a different Time – like the war in Iraq when he used the image of Tony Blair and the missiles for the Cold War in the 1980s.

The two photographs at the beginning of this essay show a photograph of a painting that shows a house in the countryside with a horse drawn cart. Same place but different time. If the picture of the house and cart had been a photograph taken by the famous photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, it could have been considered a ‘Decisive Moment’ photograph.  A photograph that “occurs when the visual and psychological elements of people in a real-life scene spontaneously and briefly come together in perfect resonance to express the essence of that situation”.  Sulery (2019).  In my opinion, the photograph would be the same as the original painting, a piece of art. John Walker stated “the meaning is determined by its spatial-temporal point of origin” Walker (2009), that is to say, the painting belongs to both “space and time” as it can be viewed again in a different period of time in the future, which is what happened.  The concept of the painting was changed into something else, without permission of the artist. According to Bresson, this would not make him a great photographer, “A photographer must always work with the greatest respect for his subject and in terms of his own point of view”. Bresson. I believe that Kennard is an exceptional Artist of photomontage, however, in my opinion, Bresson was an exceptional Photographer because the photographs he took were of his own view point and not altered in any way.

1,113 words

Bibliography

Constable,John – The Hay Wain (1821) The National Gallery https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/john-constable-the-hay-wain (Accessed April 8, 2019)

Kennard, Peter – Haywain with Missiles (2008) found at Peter Kennard website

http://www.peterkennard.com/photomontage#/nuclear-disarmament/ (Accessed April 8, 2019)

Photomontage – meaning can be found at Tate Gallery – https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/p/photomontage (Accessed April 8, 2019)

Jones, Jonathan – The Guardian, article on Peter Kennard

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/oct/15/tony-blair-selfie-photo-op-imperial-war-museum (Accessed April 10, 2019)

Suler, John – Photographic Psychology: Image and Psyche – The Psychology of the “Decisive Moment”. Page 1 – True Center Publishing – http://truecenterpublishing.com/photopsy/decisive_moment.htm (Accessed April 10, 2019)

Richard Slocombe – Guardian, article on Peter Kennards Hay wain

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/may/01/blair-selfie-peter-kennard-political-dynamite (accessed April 8, 2019)

Walker, John – Context as a Determinant of Photographic Meaning, page 4 (2009)

REFLECTION ON PART 4 – PHOTOGRAPHY

I started part 4 of the course on Photography with great anticipation and I was not disappointed. I have enjoyed completing the different projects and exercises, reading about the various Great Photographers, listening to podcasts, making blog posts and uploading my own photographs. I found certain photographers more interesting than others, however, Henri Cartier-Bresson was my favorite and became obsessed at finding out more about him. I also realized that the photos I prefer taking are like those of ‘The Decisive Moment’. In John Suler’s article The Psychology of the “The Decisive Moment” Suller’s (2019) he lists 10 key features of the “perfect” DM photo. One of the points “The capture of a unique, fleeting, and meaningful moment, ideally one involving movement and action” Suller (2019) is the perfect description of a DM photo. I uploaded a few personal photos of my interpretation of DM photos and can be found on my blog, Taylor (2019). Such was Bresson’s influence, I have ordered my first ever photography book, The Decisive Moment, deemed a photographer’s bible.

Another project I enjoyed was landscape photography, it was really interesting to read about how the photographers would take a car full of photography equipment to their chosen view point. The equipment would consist of various cameras with different lenses, lighting equipment and tripods, unlike today’s mobile phones with very good cameras installed. The photographer Ansel Adams caught my attention with his incredible landscape photographs. Adams had a different approach to Bresson’s Decisive Moment, as he believed it was ok to change the effect of a photograph in the dark room, whereas Bresson thought the opposite and that a photo shouldn’t be changed in any way. A selection of my landscape photographs can be found on my blog. Taylor (2019).

On my blog I have included a Research button and added Photographers names and links to various reading materials and videos that I had found of interest. My tutor had suggested doing this and I have found it very useful. I realise now that I should also add specific quotes and a summary of the photographer and their work. Looking back over my blog, I realise a lot of work has been covered with exercises completed and research links recorded, it is a very rewarding process to see my journey with OCA unfold and be able to refer back to it at any time.

I found the assignment difficult, I feel that certain aspects are still not quite coming together, one minute I think I have come such a long way and the next I wish I could write more clearly in an academic way and understand the requirements better. I have tried to follow the advise given on my feedback notes from my tutor in respect of my last assignment, but some things have just not clicked, like the referencing. However, I am hopeful that I haven’t been completely off track as Photography is one of the course choices I would like to pursue.

499 words

Bibliography

Cartier-Bresson, H – Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson, ICP.org (online) Available at

https://www.icp.org/exhibitions/henri-cartier-bresson-the-decisive-moment (Accessed April 10, 2019)

Taylor, J (2019). WordPress.com. (online) Available at:

https://jeanjeannieocablog.wordpress.com/2019/03/05/part-4-photography-project-2-exercise-1-b/ (accessed April 10, 2019)

Taylor, J (2019) WordPress.com (online) Available at:https://jeanjeannieocablog.wordpress.com/category/coursework/part-4-photography/project-3-a-sense-of-place/ (accessed April 10, 2019)

Adams, Ansel. Youtube.com (online) Available at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdCq-1MJmHw (accessed April 10, 2019)

 

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PART 4/PHOTOGRAPHY/PROJECT 3/LANDSCAPES

These 3 photographs have been taken of how the landscape has changed dramatically in Bahrain.  A small island joined to Saudi Arabia by The Causeway Bridge.  The first photo was taken inside the Old Fort, I tried to capture a little bit of the fort comparing it to the new buildings of Bahrain in the distance,  The second photo was taken from the old town of Bahrain, this is an area that has seen unrest with a growing divide of the rich and poor.  The third photo is showing some of the archeological parts of The Old Fort, again with the new high rise buildings of Bahrain in the background.

I love these three landscape pictures of my favourite places, the first one was taken high up on a rock formation on Dartmoor, I tried to capture the beauty of the forests and moors but also the small tree growing from the rock caught my attention and glad I was able to include it.  The second picture was taken at one of my favorite places to visit – Winterton-on-Sea.  It was taken approaching the beach and I just love the landscape that includes the famous black beach huts of Winterton and some fresh spring daffodils.  The third photograph although a bit on the dark side, was taken whilst driving back along the A47 in Norfolk, the sky was beautiful and it showed a stunning back drop to the many wind turbines that can now be found in Norfolk.

These three photographs have been taken where I live in Saudi Arabia.  The first one has been taken from one of the Jebels (hills) that I like to climb, the landscape is mostly of a rough terrain but it is an area that reminds you of how the landscape used to be in the area instead of the houses, oil wells, office buildings and road networks that have taken its place.  The second photo again has been taken where I live, it is part of an old golf course that had been built without a proper ‘green’ in sight.  I have no idea how this boat go there but I love the landscape and palm trees in the back ground, it was taken on a very dusty, storm brewing day.  This third photo was taken because the tree caught my attention, it was a tree that had been damaged in the storms and seemed to be coming back to life with small pockets of leaves coming from its trunk, and just felt the landscape made it stand out more.

On reflection of this project I have really enjoyed learning about the famous landscape photographers and how photography has change so much from when they first took photographs.  So much equipment was needed for landscape photography.  It has really made me look differently and landscapes and how they are changing with new housing developments, office buildings, stadiums and road networks.  I thought that I preferred the photography style of Henri Cartier-Bresson, ‘The Decisive Moment’, however I have now also seen how many of my photographs have been of landscapes.  I have really enjoyed Part four – Photography – and it has certainly made me think that I have a certain preference in photography like street and landscape.  I get excited at the thought of finding new places to photograph and I hope to take the level 1 photography course  that will help me to learn more about photography as a whole.

PART 4/PHOTOGRAPHY/PROJECT 3/EXERCISE 3

In exercise 3 we are asked to make notes in reference to 2 photographs of different landscapes and asked to compare if they were to be taken from ground level perspective, or to be viewed as a map or pictured from Google Earth.

Derek Trillo – The Cheshire Plain from Beeston Castle, 2008

PHOTOGRAPH VIEW

In this photograph it looks like the photo has perhaps been taken from a hill-top or helicopter as it looks to be an aerial view rather than from just a window.  It is a view of 3 separate fields, one looks to be grass that has been mowed in stripes, the other is perhaps a field that has been sowed as it too is in stripes and the third is a field of dried soil that is bare apart from a round area containing bushes and white soil.  There are trees sparingly dividing each field from each other.

GROUND LEVEL

If this photograph were to have been taken at ground level, you would perhaps see the trees looking more majestic in height and the eye would look further to the horizon seeing more fields or trees, perhaps a tractor would come into view.  The perspective would be in length and width, with a lot more to see.

MAP OR GOOGLE EARTH

Photos courtesy of Google maps (accessed April 3, 2019)

The first picture is of a road map on how to get to Beeston Castle with no greenery or pictures of the scenery.  The second is of a satellite picture showing a lot more greenery and how the areas are divided out, perhaps by borders that contain trees, bushes or fences, it isn’t clear, but what is clear is there are borders, perhaps just by what has been planted or not planted.  Or whether the greenery is a field or trees.  I’ve never studied a satellite picture before and have found it very interesting.

Peter Mansell, OCA Student – No title

PHOTOGRAPH VIEW

This picture looks to have been taken from a height but not quite an aerial view like the first one.  Perhaps from a window in another building.  It is a black and white photo of a built up area in an industrial town, the buildings look to be office blocks with  warehouses in the foreground, perhaps housing in the distance towards the horizon, with a couple of tower blocks in between.  There is a road dividing the office buildings and warehouse buildings and the only sign of life is a bus on the road.

GROUND LEVEL

If this photograph were to be taken at ground level, perhaps from where the warehouses are, then a lot of the buildings would be out of view as there are some tall buildings which would obscure the view beyond, the road would also be in the way and therefore the lower level buildings wouldn’t be seen nor would the buildings on the horizon.  You may only get a portion of the buildings in the camera view depending on how far away the photo would be taken.

MAP OR GOOGLE EARTH

As the photograph didn’t indicate where the photo was taken, I had a look at some photos of an industrial area in Norwich, Norfolk, to try to get an idea of buildings, warehouses and a road, taken at ground level.   I then zoomed in on Google maps showing both the road map and satellite images.

As you can see from the satellite picture , there is a lot more to see than the actual ground level view.  There appears to be some greenery surrounding the shop units with a much larger road network running along side.    This is showing what happens when a picture is taken from a different angle, and height that you can’t see what is further afield when taking a photo at ground level, at the same time there is much more detail in what you can see when closer to the object.

GROUND LEVEL PHOTOGRAPHY

14-Agecroft - John Davies

Courtesy of John Davies, Gallery Photos found at http://www.johndavies.co.uk

This image by John Davies Agecroft Power Station, Salford 1983 is very dramatic, like four giant monsters towering above everything, how where they built and why where they built there when there is obviously trees and fields around.  I can’t help thinking if they were built there or transported there, how much land and trees must have been destroyed.  I wonder if the football being played is being played by the employees of the power stations, as you can’t help thinking nobody would be living in the surrounding areas having to look at such ugly buildings.  The smoke billowing from the towers also feels a threat to the environment.  If the photograph was taken at ground level and closer to the power stations, then all you would see are the parts of the power stations, the human side of the photograph would not be there I don’t believe the photograph would feel or look quite so dramatic.

On further research I discovered that the power stations were demolished and HM Forrest Prison was built in its place, which is surrounded by a wood and Drinkwater Park.  This leaves me feeling much happier.

http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/wood/17628/former-agecroft-power-station/

(accessed April 4, 2019)

RESEARCH

The following websites are various sites that have been researched for Project 3 and can be found in the Research Tab on the home page.

NEW TOPOGRAPHICS – “PHOTOGRAPHS OF A MAN-ALTERED LANDSCAPE”

This Guardian online newspaper article was written by Sean O’Hagen and was mainly about an exhibition containing over 168 black and white photos of landscapes that were basically boring, showing eery empty streets or buildings, pictures of office walls, German Cooling towers and billboards, to name but a few mundane pictures.  William Jenkins was the Curator and at the time the exhibition, held in 1975,  was not received well.  However, the photographs took on a new meaning, truthfulness of what was happening to the American landscape

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/feb/08/new-topographics-photographs-american-landscapes (accessed April 1, 2019)

NEW TOPOGRAPHICS – Description by The Tate Gallery

“New topographics was a term coined by William Jenkins in 1975 to describe a group of American photographers (such as Robert Adams and Lewis Baltz) whose pictures had a similar banal aesthetic, in that they were formal, mostly black and white prints of the urban landscape”.

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/n/new-topographic (accessed April 2, 2019)

ADAMS, ROBERT – GETTY MUSEUM – COLLECTION OF PHOTOGRAPHS

(accessed April 2, 2019)

“Robert Adams has photographed the landscape of the American West for more than forty years, particularly in California, Colorado and Oregon. His vision is inspired by his joy in nature’s inherent beauty, yet tempered by his dismay at its exploitation and degradation. Adams uses photography to express his love for the landscape and to understand how urban and industrial growth have changed it, all the while insisting that beauty in the world has not been entirely eclipsed”.

ADAMS, ROBERT- LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER – YOU TUBE INTERVIEW

(Accessed April 2, 2019) Part of the 10 Photographers who took part in the 1975 New Topographic exhibition about banal landscape photographs that actually told a story about how nature was being destroyed by man.  Robert Adams was a teacher turned photographer after becoming disillusioned with teaching.  His photos are black and white pictures of various landscapes, mostly trees, quite morbid and depressing in some cases, where he described the uprooting photos of trees like corpses.

EPSTEIN’S MITCH – NEW TOPOGRAPHIC PHOTOGRAPHER – AMERICAN POWER PROJECT

(accessed April 2, 2019)

An interesting collection of photos from Mitch Epstein – showing everyday landscape photos with large power stations in the background or wind turbines, man-made dam going through the Arizona mountains.  Photos showing how man has intervened with nature and taken away some of the most beautiful and natural landscapes.  He was born in 1952 and helped to pioneer fine art colour photographs in the 1970s.  It has made me think about the country I live in – Saudi Arabia – and how this country has had its landscape completely changed by oil wells, tower buildings, water towers, road networks in such a short space of time, the beautiful Arabian Desert has slowly been taken over.  I have not really taken much thought about how things once were.  It has made me think about how much this country has changed in the ten years I have been here and how the people perhaps haven’t had much say in the environmental issues that perhaps are now being highlighted.   The same as Bahrain which has moved forward much quicker than Saudi Arabia, laws are less stricter with regards to alcohol, women not having to wear abayas, no prayer times in the shopping malls, however there is a divide in the country clearly seen in landscape photography which I will attempt to convey in my next blog post.

FAY GODWIN’S – FORBIDDEN PROJECT

Fay Godwin was born in Germany but settled in England in 1950’s.  As a keen rambler, she fought for people to have the right to walk anywhere in the British countryside and brought attention to harm being done in the environment by taking photographs which then resulted in the project ‘Forbidden Project’ – Looking at her amazing photographs, makes me think of my own photographs I have taken in the past, my favourite being of Winterton-on-sea, the landscape scenery is beautiful, with wind turbines seemingly floating in the sea, far in the distance.  I’ve also started to take photos of the landscape and architecture of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and am fascinated by the incredible artwork and beauty of both countries and how the landscape and architecture is changing dramatically into expensive, high-rise buildings, banks, petrol stations, oil wells It makes me want to highlight the adverse changes and I can’t wait to continue to take photos whilst I can before Saudi Arabia becomes a tourist hotspot and its ever changing rules and policies.

GOODWIN, FAY – THE SCOTTISH GALLERY

Photographs by Fay Goodwin, landscape photographer (accessed April 2, 2019)

ANSEL ADAMS – BBC DOCUMENTARY (accessed April 3, 2019)

Born in San Fransisco – 1902 – gave up being a concert pianist to be a photographer.  When he saw Paul Strands negatives in Mexico made him convert fully to a photographer.  The interviewer asks him if being a musician and photographer are these  two things related – he said the writer …. says that  “All artists are expressionists of the same things”.  Some of his photos he would change in the dark room by making them darker or lighter – different method to Bresson’s ‘Decisive Moment’ where he believes the photo shouldn’t be changed.  Did a project for the Department of the Interior Building in Washington DC, the theme was to be nature as exemplified and protected in the US National Parks.  However, project was halted because of World War II and never resumed.

JOHN DAVIES – INDUSTRIAL LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER

Davies explored the different landscapes that were being turned into large-scale urban cities and investigated the disposal and privatisation of public open spaces.  He was one of the first photographers to be commissioned by the Museum of London in 2001 – “to explore the major arterial road links which run through the capital”

“These photographs are made deliberately in an un-sensational and often understated way to allow the viewer to draw their own conclusions and to avoid imposing my own view of urban change” John Davies.

 

PART 4/PHOTOGRAPHY/PROJECT 3/EXERCISE 2

In Exercise 2 we are asked to look back over holiday photos and to try to remember your motivation for taking them.  I have so many that I have taken and so many that mean a lot to me for various reasons.  On looking back through some of these photos I have started to realize that I do like to be ‘A Decisive Moment’ type of photographer, I don’t tend to take a lot of photos of the same scene or scenario, but take one or two and move on.  Having now discovered Henri Cartier Brensson, I have got extremely excited to realize that perhaps this is my style of photography that I didn’t realize was a style.  A lot of my holiday photos are spontaneous and quirky, I love to take photos of strangers and unusual objects or situations that you don’t normally find in a travel guide.  It feels great to be inspired by amazing photographers of the past, but most certainly Brensson has captured my attention.  The following are some of my photos that are of the ‘Decisive Moment’ kind or what I call quirky, they remind me of the place I was on holiday and I know they mean something to me.

These three photographs remind me so much of one of my favorite places to visit on vacation in the UK.  Winterton on Sea, I have so many that I love and not sure why I chose these three, but I the first photo was on my last visit there.  On walking towards the beach, along a footpath, a came across this very ‘cute’ animal, sleeping, or dieing.  Not sure what to do. I left it hoping it would run into the undergrowth.  On the way back I decided if it was still there I would put it into the undergrowth out of harms way.  In the distance an old man was coming towards us, walking with a stick to aid him.  He stopped at the little animal where he raised his stick and with such force proceeded to hit the animal as it bounced high, and as it landed he kicked it into the undergrowth.  I was so shocked and couldn’t move out of fear, to see the brutality of such an old man and the guilt of not moving the animal when I first saw it will remain with me.  “A rat” he said as he walked past tilting his hat.f  The photo was taken with my iPhone 5 at close range.

The second picture is of one of the round houses you can find on a holiday resort at Winterton, in the background are black huts that are prominent when you reach the beautiful sandy beach in the distance.  It just reminds me of Winterton in all its glory.  I aimed my camera lens so that it showed the cuteness of the round house and its brightness compared to the square black beach huts in the distance.

The third photo I love.  It captures the beautiful long beach at Winterton, with the sand dunes, pathways and reeds, even on a rainy day.  It is such a wonderful place to walk and have the wind from the sea blow the cobwebs away.  The fact my daughter was walking just in front of me, deep in thought, was a perfect shot to capture on such a memorable day.  I knelt down to take this shot, to incorporate the reeds, sandy beach, waves and of course my daughter.

Florence is a magical city.  The people and the architecture are wonderful.   The first photograph I know I’ve not caught the light perhaps as I should have, however I loved this photo of my daughter and her boyfriend with the most amazing view and sunset, it summed up a beautiful day in Florence.  The second picture, is of some graffiti art that you can find all around Florence on the walls, subtly hidden.  This photo when it is enlarged has a picture of a typical Italian moped which I thought added to the mystical stick like, graffiti, would love to know who draws them.  Some would say you shouldn’t be drawing on these old buildings, but to others its Art and adds to the culture.  The third photo, will always remind me of the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence.  A bunch of padlocks hang on the wall with love notes left by tourists or locals.  I got caught up in the moment and decided to leave my own message, only to be verbally attacked by an English man who said I shouldn’t be writing on the wall of this historic bridge.  Quite right too I thought afterwards, however at the time it wasn’t pleasant as I was just doing what countless others had done that seemed to be part of the history of the bridge leaving love notes.  The fourth picture is of a street that we found walking through the back streets.  This shop was full of Italian bric-a-brac and just loved the high doors and was typical of the long, clean, pedestrian streets.  The final photo is of the famous statue of Perseus with the head of Medusa.  I took the photo as I thought it was just an incredible statue with unbelievable artwork and obviously amazing story.  I felt the photo captures the figure as if it was a real moment.  I love it and reminds me so much of the artwork found in Florence.

Boracay in the Philippines has got to be one of my favorite holidays of all time.  The photo opportunities were amazing.  There wasn’t a day or an hour, even a minute that went by that I wasn’t taking a photograph.  Lots of ‘Decisive Moments’ and too many to put on here.  But all of these photos meant something to me and when I took them I did think of the composition, the background, the lighting and the actual ‘decisive moment’ of taking a photo that perhaps no one else would take the same way as I had done, I tried to take the photo quickly in all these situations.  Some were taken with my iPhone others with my Pentax SLR.  Perhaps there are a million other photos just like mine, I don’t know, but these particular ones I felt I had taken with purpose and either at different angles or viewed through something like the fourth one which was viewed through an old, rotting boat.

The first photo is of a young family on their way to the shops, school, or to see family, you just don’t know, but you can see there is a story just by their lack of fear, no helmets, protective clothing or shoes and the child just wedged between the two adults.   I felt lucky to have got this shot especially as it was raining too.

The second photo, I also feel lucky to have been in the position I was sailing on a catamaran yacht with local boys as the sailors, non over 18 by the looks of things.  It was the most incredible sail out towards the sunset, legs dangling over the edge of the netted wing, spray from the sea catching your face, I had my iPhone in a plastic wallet slung round my neck as I tried to get the shot of these carefree boys.  A memory I will never forget.

The third shot was just beautiful, a 5.00am sunrise (pretty hard for me to be up at that time so quite memorable).  The fourth shot was taken, whilst walking along one of the beautiful beaches of Boracay, I spotted an upturned, small rowing boat, perched in a tree, as I looked through the rotting holes of the boat, I spotted a photo opportunity and was pretty pleased with the result.  This fifth shot was taken with my Pentax SLR, there has been no filter added, I thought it was agreat contrast to the silent bobbing of the old style yachts, this noisy, bright, lights flashing, disco motor boat cruised on by and I managed to get the shot.  This sixth shot reminds sadly of a day out driving dune buggies through dirt tracks and forests.  We started off at an outdoor café/reception and spotted these caged monkies, it was heartbreaking.  I thought if I took the photo, somehow I could highlight its captivity and plead for its release.  Sadly that didn’t happen, but I felt the shot did portray its pleading eyes and I just hoped it was well looked after.  Taken with my Pentax SLR.

The last shot was another sunrise moment, with a young local sweeping up on the sandy beach, the shot was taken whilst walking through a hole in the rocks, with plants hanging down, framing the picture of the young man, again taken with my Pentax.

As mentioned there were so many photographs of this incredible holiday, just too many to share.  I still felt that although there isn’t that fear of wasting film, I still like to try and take a photograph that is a little different in some way, normally I would only take one or two of the same scene, so as not to get boring.

These five photos were taken in Washington DC, each one taken with purpose.  The first one I believe is a ‘Decisive Moment’ shot, young boys pushing a large supermarket trolley around with water bottles to sell to the public, I felt for the boys as it was almost like child labor, kids being used by the man in the baseball hat.  The second photo was taken at the JF Kennedy Arts Centre.  My daughter loves the theatre and she was sat watching the stage as if it were alive with dancers, there was nobody there but I could still see her smiling.  I thought  it was a lovely photo and will always remind me of spending a magical day with my daughter.  This third shot was taken on the Marina, a group of chairs surround an open fire, several times I walked past where strangers would be sitting with coffee chatting to each other, I thought it was a great social gathering place.  The fourth shot was taken at the Famous fish market of Washington DC, another Decisive Moment shot that I can just smell the fish and feel the business of the market, a great reminder.  This last shot, was one of those quirky moments where I saw these bright pink outlets which caught my attention and just reminded me of the quirkiness of Washington DC.

 

Three simple photos taken on a trip back to the UK, the first one of my daughter taking a photo of the beautiful English blossom, we had gone out for the day with our cameras and it just reminds me of such a wonderful mother daughter moment.  The second photo again with my daughter at Christmas, displaying a rather delicious, vegetarian Christmas dinner that we cooked together, I hope the photo shows how it tasted as good as it looked, another precious moment.  The third photo reminds me of a cinema trip with my daughters to a London cinema, gone are the days of a trip to your locale Odeon with a bag of popcorn and coke.  This was an incredible evening of Champaign, chocolates and very large comfy sofas and blankets on offer too, was fantastic, I thought the shot just portrayed the luxury of the evening, another great memory.

On reflecting over this exercise I really enjoyed talking about my photogs although was aware that I might be talking too much about my own personal opinions on photos that only mean something to me.  It made me think what makes an amazing photo that others would want to see and say wow that’s an amazing shot.  I keep feeling that ‘The Decisive Moment’ shots are the ones that stand out for me as I know there wasn’t too much thinking that went into the shot, no special lenses or set ups, no lighting issues or props, just that moment.  I still think it means a lot to take a photograph like this as it makes it even more special as it is unlikely it can be repeated.  I do think there is a point that photos can be altered later, Bresson doesn’t believe this should happen, I can confess to changing the colour or cropping a photo, I don’t think this devalues it, makes it just more interesting.  Once again am just fascinated with the exitement I feel with photography and just want to keep learning more and more, especially from the great masters.

 

PART 4/PHOTOGRAPHY/PROJECT 3/EXERCISE 1

BERRY, IAN – WHITBY, NORTH YORKSHIRE – MAGNUM PHOTOS (accessed March 25, 2019)

A group of photos taken by Ian Berry of black and white images of Whitby in North Yorkshire (PLACE).  If there were no people in these pictures it would look quite bleak, the photos don’t seem to have been taken with the scenery as being part of the photo, more to do with capturing the people.  The pictures I would imagine would make Whitby look quite barren, unless the photograph was taken at a different angle and there was a different perspective of what the photo meant.  I’m sure Whitby is beautiful but these photos were not taken to show off the beauty of the land it was more about the people with the scenery as background

Jesse Alexander’s ‘Cathedral’ Box Freestone Quarry, Wiltshire, 2008 – Threshold Zone.

Shows a very dark photo, almost like a cave, possibly with a tunnel leading to it, the floor looks to be full of  diamonds with a hole in the roof also depicting diamonds.

EXERCISE 1

In this exercise we are asked to take two photos of the same scene but one with a zoom and one on the widest setting and compare the pictures.  I have chosen these two photos as I think they are a good example of how two pictures can be so different when taken with different lens settings.

The first photo is a photo shot of the famous Washington Monument (built in memory of George Washington).  This picture taken from a distance includes a tree and magnificent gardens and lake.  I like the way I managed to frame the building with the tree branches and park although what is missing is the girl reading that is the main part of the second picture.  In this one, the Washington Monument is not the main part of the shot you can barely see it through the branches and leaves of the tree.  The girl reading is the star of the photo, I couldn’t help wondering if she lived in Washington and this was her favorite spot to read or was on vacation and had come by the bench by chance.  It certainly is a beautiful spot to ‘read with a view’.  I liked both pictures as they have different points of views and tell a different story just by zooming the camera in and out.

 

 

And then it was gone by Jean Taylor 2018

PART 4/PHOTOGRAPHY/PROJECT 2/EXERCISE 4

In exercise 4, we were asked to research various artists, whose art had to be photographed to be recorded. ie Hamish Fulton considered himself to be a ‘Walking Artist’, photographing areas he walks in but believes the walking is the art “If I do not walk, I cannot make a work of Art” (Fulton 1973) – he believes the photographs just record his art.  However, without the photographs his work wouldn’t be seen, the argument being the photographs and the way they are taken would be the art.

Richard Long, also bases his artwork on walks and the environment, sculptures have been made by him on various walks, and then photographed, also artwork that he has exhibited, is then photographed and displayed on his website, perhaps encouraging people to go to the exhibits to view his artwork.  However, is it not then the Photographer taking the photo in say the correct lighting, certain angle is the artist being able to show his skill as a photographer.

An artist called Keith Arnatt wrote “The continual reference to the disappearance of the art object suggested to me the eventual disappearance of the artist himself”.  (Arnatt 1969) said this in reference to nine black and white photographs that were shown every day on German television, for just 2 seconds.  There was no warning to the viewers, leaving them to make up their own minds what was going on.  The photographs showed Arnatt disappearing gradually into the ground.  He considered this to be art, however the argument would be is it the camera showing the disappearing act as being the art, not the artist himself.

We are asked if the photography in these cases, is actually the artwork or is it simply providing an authentic record of the artwork itself.  Personally a photographer will always see himself as the artist no matter what he takes as it could be a picture of the Tower of London, depending on the light, the angle, or what’s in the foreground, you could argue then is the Architecture the artist or the photographer if the picture was to sell.  The same can be said with the photos taken of the sculptures by Richard Long, if the photograph was sold is it because of the sculpture itself or the photograph that has been taken, I am unsure of the legalities in this instance, it is an interesting topic and something I would like to investigate further.

On reflection of this exercise, I have been seeing photography in a different light, it can be confusing as to what is the art, my personal view would be it is the photograph, however I am sure this can be argued by any subject matter be it a building, person, sculpture, painting, object, what are we looking at the photograph or what is in the photograph, who owns the photograph, the photographer or the sculpturer.  In this example of some beautifully displayed Sushi food at a restaurant.  The chef has been artistic in the way the food has been put together, the person who put the food on display has been artistic and perhaps the photographer has been artistic just by the focus on the food alone.  What are you seeing, the photograph, or the food, or the way it is displayed.  I’m not sure if this is a good example but it certainly is a thought-provoking subject.

And then it was gone by Jean Taylor 2018

 

PART 4/PHOTOGRAPHY/PROJECT 2/EXERCISE 3

In exercise 3 we are asked ‘why do you think that photographs are such a significant part of our lives? Write down how you feel about photos – or videos – from your family’s past.

I love photos.  I love the memories they help you keep, whether they or of family, friends, places you went to, objects you treasured, buildings you admired or just a moment you captured and like to relive.  They can make you feel happy, sad, inspired, even angry, bitter, embarrassed and ashamed.  My parents had a set of photo albums that they took with them every house they lived in, I remember them as a child being fascinated by the photos in them, black and white ones of my parents when they first met, looking so young and beautiful.  My dad was in the army and there are pictures of him as a young sergeant away at war, my mum I always thought looking stunning, her smile beaming, my heart just melts every time I look at these pictures.  I will treasure these albums, always.  Before I left the uk to live abroad I asked my dad to go through the albums to tell me the stories behind the pictures, I even took photos of my favourites with my iPhone, just in case they got mislaid or destroyed.  There are photos of myself and my siblings when we were babies, teenagers and now as adults, memories that will never fade because they are captured on film.  This is why  “family photos are often cited as being the possessions that people would most want to save from a house fire”.  I know in my case, that would be true, along with my notebooks.

Here are a few of my favourite photos from my parents albums.

 

 

I love looking back at old pictures, especially those of my parents and my siblings when were younger.  I have photos taken of when we were stationed in Hong Kong and Germany, my dad was in the army.  There are black and white photos of my parents before they were married (before coloured photos were the norm).  There are of course the embarassing memories of  myself  as a teenager, along with my two brothers with our ‘Kiss me Quick’ hats thinking we were cool, posing whilst on a caravan holiday on Hayling Island.  Then there is the heartful one of my grandparents, the grandmother I never met.  I have so many photographs, too many to put on this page, they are photographs from my family’s past, along with the present day photos of my daughters, family and friends, all are equal to being my most prized possessions, I really would do everything I could to save them from the house fire.  However, modern technology does allow the comfort of knowing I have copies of photographs on my computer, ipad, phone  and ‘icloud’ for maximum safety.

There is a box of photos that means the world to me, stored away in the UK, they are my favourite photos that I have put in there in no particular order.  I had stopped putting photos into large albums as they had become too bulky to keep storing and then transporting everytime I moved.  I do understand that there isn’t the same sentimental value with photos on a computer, however there are more advantages than disadvantages with digital photos.  You can just keep the ones you like and not feel guilty deleting the ones you don’t.  The downside is that people don’t tend to sit around looking at photos on a computer like with family or friends, in the past it would be a fun evening to get the albums out and be entertained with how we used to be, I find that quite sad.  My own personal preference is that I do chose to have photos on my walls, especially of my daughters and family members, I am also in the process of creating a work area in my house where I can put up magnetic boards to display photographic projects that I am working on, such as ‘The Decisive Moment’ photos that I have taken.  It is beneficial to have the choice of printing certain photos off and then others to just store on your computer for the future when you just want to have a browse, in which case it is much easier to look through albums on the computer if you are looking for a specific period of person or holiday snap that you are looking to find.  I am glad that photography has advanced as it  has opened up lots of creative opportunities, and avoids the whole frustrating  wait for negatives to be developed, or in some cases to not get developed at all, and costly ‘black’ or ‘unfoccused’ photographs were miserably accepted from your photographic shop with no leaveway for costs to be returned.  It is ok to look back over the nostaligic photos of the past, but the future is about creating new and exciting alternatives.