Archive for Exercise 21

Making figures anonymous.

Posted in Project work with tags on November 15, 2010 by Judy Bach

I thought this exercise sounded easy at first but on re-reading it realised it meant capturing not only unrecognisable people but  including the place they were in. I had actually gone merrily around just snapping the back of peoples head’s etc ! I think it is actually is intended to help you start  thinking about creating an image that includes people but who are not the most significant part of the image. The place is the principle subject but people are necessary to show its extent, how it is used by them, acknowledging their existence within the area. I felt easier photographing people , trying to make them anonymous,  than I have often felt at other times during the course, the subjects were, usually, unaware of me and my camera. I noted that the images taken for Exercise 19 created anonymity , therefore what is the difference between the 2 exercises? I feel perhaps the former exercise was  to start to consider framing, where to place a single figure to create the most dynamic image. Robert, my tutor, advised me to try and create more panoramic images,  this exercise will help me expand on that skill ,  to help show  the  essence of a place. However for the first image of this exercise I did not heed this advice.

Scale For exercise 19 the figure was a mere accent, hence can a larger silhouetted person in the frame still create an image that is primarily  about the place ?   The location of the image below, a beach, is obvious and even though the figure dominates the frame he is unrecognisable. But is it more about the person than the place? It creates perhaps a feeling of the contemplative mood of my subject and how he  relates to being here but I also think it fails to draw the viewers attention to the scale of the place but more on the subject , it is not a panoramic view.  The area behind the subject is too underexposed  to see the built up Penzance area.  Hence I feel for these reasons the image fails to be primarily about the place but more about the figure inhabiting it.  

F8         1/1600         ISO 200        @28mm        Shade WB

Figures smaller in the frame . My next image is a bit more successful , this time I have kept them smaller in the frame and in silhouette by shooting towards the sun. The expanse of Penzance can be seen behind them , the scale of the area immediately more noticeable than my previous image.  Once again I am unsure if this image is actually about the place , as instructed in the exercise brief, but once again more about the human inhabitants? Are the figures of less importance than the place? I think that both are needed to make sense of how this place is used, but which plays the subsidiary role? I think scale, once again, is the answer , a more panoramic view of this scene would alter the balance between person and place, placing the emphasis firmly on place.

 F6.3          1/2000           ISO 100       @ 28mm       Shade WB

Small and Many. How I wish I had taken a wider angled lens with me when I took the image below.  Because I only had my 70-200 lens with me this is the shortest focal length that I could use. The figures are certainly anonymous, each occupied in different activities on the beach, and is more about the place than any individual person. I think this image does show how the space is used , but I can see how much better a panoramic view would have been to show the scale of the area. Taken from a high view point I was interested to read about the work of Andreas Gursky whose “signature vantage point” creates images of places  “made up of tiny constituent parts” and where “we are not being asked to interpret the individual experience of the place”     Charlotte Cotton,  The photograph as contemporary art ,  new edition, Thames & Hudson, London 2009.

+  See Reading section re Andreas Gursky, photographer of Place. 

F10             1/250                 ISO 100          @ 70mm            Daylight WB

Facing away. The image below is an attempt to include people but by shooting from behind to keep the focus on place not person. However the three individuals in front of me were so distinctively dressed for a day at the British seaside they do perhaps  create a bit more interest to be paid to them, detracting somewhat from  keeping them anonymous!

F9       1/320           ISO 100          @ 38mm           Daylight WB

The following image works better,not really a panoramic view though.

F8                    1/1000         ISO 200            @ 51mm          Shade WB