Assignment one: Two Sides of the Story – Final Draft

Brief

Create at least two sets of photographs telling different versions of the same story.

Concept

Taking inspiration from different types of documentary photography namely, the vernacular, aftermath and documentary I wanted to create sets of images which captured the final stages of the cover-19 lockdown. One showing how we have been socially motivated to celebrate the sacrifices and diligent hardworking of the NHS, another, showing that at the same time essentially becoming ever more inward in isolation. In a way the isolation and risk attached to strangers, proximity, touching and cleaning. The immediacy of driving the obvious risks to the forefront of everyones minds has created an excuse for disregarding all other societal norms.

Research

The main influence for this work is the knowledge gained and outlined in Part 1 of the course work Exercise 1-5. I also further wanted to refer to the specific type of vernacular photography highlighted such as Alphonse Bertillon, “Murder of Madame Veuve Bol, Projection on a Vertical Plane,” 1904.

The idea of including photographic equipment within the frame has been an idea I have toyed with previously, the early use of these cameras and techniques were for the purpose of documenting forensic evidence, the aesthetic being secondary to the main goal and therefore the inclusion of the legs which would usually be considered a defect is disregarded as a necessity to achieve the framing needed to capture the body in place. I find it an interesting concept that the inclusion of the legs reminds us that that this is a photograph being staged and captured to a specific requirement yet being a forensic document we know that it is essentially ‘truth’. A contradiction in modern times where the inclusion of the equipment would be seen as peeking behind the curtain or breaking the fourth wall and suspension of disbelief. We see this in film, when a boom mic drops slightly into frame it can be distracting and highly derided for the amateurishness of the production. When utilising these types of ‘mistakes’ as a tool within the frame we can lend credence or doubt to what we see as either document or construction.

During preparing for Express Your Vision, I had a similar thought with the use of forensic scales and measures which I felt would support the style of images within one of the sets.

Contact Sheets

Selected Images

Reflection

Due to the recent lockdown and movement restrictions I have found myself increasingly struggling to find the drive and enthusiasm to concentrate on developing my image output. the research has been helpful and the reading has been engaging but I feel as though my lack of creativity has come through in these sets. I like the concept and feel the final 5 images are the best of the lot as it was an idea I have wanted to try and develop for a while. The use of on camera flash, tripod and measuring scale all achieve the look I was striving for but the other images seem to lack he same level of effectiveness. I believe this may be partly due to my own bias towards thinking that generally everyone has actually become more selfish during the lockdown and that the Clap for NHS is just another way to make people feel like they are contributing and keep their conscience clear, whilst simultaneously wasting PPE and creating mess and potential transmission hazards on the very streets in front of their homes. Potentially, if I had made an effort to invite the people to pose and perform for the camera to heighten the effect it would have been more satisfactory. Also as we are reaching the loosening of the lockdown less people are taking part in the clap which lessens the impact of the images. This is one of the reasons I decided to include three sets instead of just two as I felt a couple of the good images were more ambiguous about the intention as they included both celebratory points and disillusionment such as image 6 where we see the parents clapping and beeping horns whilst their small child looks on sullen and bored.

I look forward to the further assignments and exercises as we relax the restrictions which will hopefully help with freedom to work with others and spend more time out exploring and developing new ideas.

References

Consider a career in forensic photography (s.d.) At: https://www.policeone.com/police-jobs-and-careers/articles/consider-a-career-in-forensic-photography-4n4FDoedmJvtF2ym/ (Accessed 25/05/2020).Schwartz, A. (s.d.) The Long Collusion of Photography and Crime. At: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/photo-booth/the-long-collusion-of-photography-and-crime (Accessed 25/05/2020).

Tutor Feedback

Having submitted my first draft of this assignment and now receiving feedback from my Tutor I will be looking to make some revisions based on some points raised in the video call and written feedback.

Overall the feedback was positive, my Tutor was praiseful of the concept and execution relating to the work on the level that I had approached the idea and reaffirming the success of the execution. My Tutor noted how I had used differing techniques effectively and correctly stated that ‘…while this probably won’t be the greatest piece of work that you’ll ever make, it’s still an assignment that points towards someone with really promising observational skills…’ A comment I really appreciate as I do work a lot from my instincts about topics and sometimes feel I may be over reaching, a point that was raised during EYV that I may be thinking in too much scope.

In regards to criticism of the assignment my Tutor raised a very valid point that the curation of the images could have been tighter as there are cases of repetition within the images and this will be the core of the changes I make to the selection for final draft.

Another point raised by my Tutor is that they would like to see more detailed research to support the concept and message of the images. Whilst the work I had done towards this assignment was adequate they felt that more research outside of the realm of photography would be appropriate. For example reading into the behaviours and rituals of people. Another point that is valid and I will look to improve in the future.

Amended Final Selection

Reflection on Final Draft

Overall I am more pleased with the feedback than I expected as I felt I have been struggling to motivate myself and develop ideas recently. A point that when discussing with my tutor I will look to bring into my next assignment. The feedback on the work was very fair and clear, which I feel has given me the ‘permission’ to cut back on the final selection of images from the original 12 images to 10. this has given the set a better visual flow with all landscape framing, triples on the themes and a tighter set with less repetition of ideas. This also allowed me the ability to display the images a little more coherently with the theme shifting across the set. The points about improving my contextual research are valid and I look forward to pulling ideas and concepts from alternative mediums and fields. It is something I have always struggled on communicating with my work as my ideas come from so many sources across years of enjoying film, documentary and art that I never really made note or reference to where those ideas come from so it feels a little like rediscovering those initial influences to support my ongoing development.

I’m looking forward to the next assignment more having taken the first steps in this new unit and with new concepts ahead I feel more motivated and engaged by the possibilities. Hopefully we will see a little more freedom in the world with the relaxing of the lockdown restrictions which will help with my own personal lockdown depression!

4 thoughts on “Assignment one: Two Sides of the Story – Final Draft

  1. Hi Harley. I’m currently working on assignment 1 so it’s really interesting to see your concept and how you’ve illustrated it. I can see a progression through the lockdown in your images. The rainbows were the first things we saw, then the clapping which as you say has started to wane now and then finally we are seeing the ‘real’ us coming back. My only comment would be why not cut the images down to 3 sets of 3 and show the rainbows, the clapping and then the forensic shots? Anyway well done one the feedback and good luck with the next assignment. Cheers. John

    Like

    1. Thank you John, I look forward to seeing your assignment! Good point on the 3 of 3, I think I tend towards slightly too many as I’m always concerned there won’t be enough content if that makes sense. I settled on 10 as it always seems to be my happy place 😂 but in all honesty I think I would choose to drop the flag and bottle cap image as it doesn’t seem part of one side or the other as clearly as the others. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we all go through motivational issues Harley, I know I certainly do, a couple of my assignments for the EYV I really struggled with. I do like your final selection but agree with John that perhaps 3 sets of three may balance a bit better, but that is just a minor comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jonathon, look forward to seeing you starting C&N when you get through EYV. Hopefully you’re not too stuck, my tutor basically told me to turn that period of time into an assignment so we will se what they turns into haha

      Liked by 1 person

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