Category Archives: ASSIGNMENT 5

EYV Assignment 5 Response to tutor feedback

My tutor very kindly gave me his feedback very quickly because he was aware that I hoped to submit my work for July’s assessment.

I will start with the positives

  • Strong ending to the course
  • Some ‘great’ shots
  • Good research
  • Exercise 5.2 strong with good self- assessment

Things to consider

The main issue in respect of my images was in relation to my decision to enhance an already bright part of my pictures using Photoshop. Specifically, I had increased the saturation of the bright orange buildings of the power station to further exaggerate the plant as significant and central to my images. My tutor advised that this technique has to be used very carefully, to avoid appearing naïve. I had acknowledged, in my written submission, my hesitation in editing my images in this way through fear that it might make them look amateurish, but had continued with the experiment.

Having said this, my tutor felt that in one particular image, the colour enhancement worked well, hence his advice to carefully think through a decision to enhance an image, not his advice never to do so. As I write this, in the light of my tutor’s comments, I can see that I applied the edit uniformly, across all my images, and that the outcome may have been improved had I carefully considered the impact of my approach on each individual image. I can also see that the edit was unnecessary and added little to my final project.

Technical issues

  • Small thumbnails on my learning log.

There seems to be a recurring issue to do with my images sizes. I intend to address the immediate issue and look at sizing in general more carefully.

Suggested photographers

  • My tutor recommended Gabriele Basilico for his work on urban space.

In response to my tutor’s feedback, I have decided to make some changes to my final assignment submission. Specifically, I have decided to un-do the colour edits I made and submit my prints using the original colour saturation.

My tutor also commented, about image 7, that it seemed ‘to be too much about colour’. I re-looked at this image and reversed the edits I made. This did improve the image, since I could now see that there had been too much to look at in this image in terms of colour. Ultimately however, I decided to replace image 7 with a different select from my contact sheets:

I preferred the composition of this image, and the colours, and felt that it better reflected my theme of accessibility by the public.

I was delighted with my feedback for this assignment. My tutor said that my work in the second half of Expressing your Vision shows significant improvement. His comments have increased my confidence and motivated me to continue.

EYV Assignment 5 Written Analysis

What is my assignment about?

This assignment is about the accessibility to the public of the E.ON Power station in Sheffield. It is my response to a personal desire to see it up close and to an image sourced on the internet that showed the site as a public green space. I wanted to explore just how accessible my subject was and to show the reality of its position within the city and its relationship with the community in terms of its proximity to the public.

First, I captured it as remote – at this distance, it seems almost as if you could just take a long walk and arrive on the doorstep. From a distance it is part of a wider natural and industrial landscape, accessible, but remote from the general public. I include three images from this perspective.

The following four images are intended to show a much closer relationship with the public. I did not want to present the power station as ‘incidental’ as Davies does in his images of Mount Fuji, but rather as a significant part of the everyday landscape. I have deliberately emphasised the colour of the orange part of the building to ensure that it has priority place, despite its varying physical size in my pictures.

My final three images are perhaps the most interesting to me. In direct contrast to the internet image that fuelled the idea for this project, what I saw as I got closer to the buildings, were barriers – fences, walls, barbed wire.

Inspiration

I frequently drive past this site and have admired it for some time. I have driven as close as I can, and considered how I might go about actually getting consent to look around inside. My initial inspiration to use this as a subject for my assignment was my personal interest in this site because of my perception of the buildings as quite beautiful.

I took an image of the power station for my work on exercise 1.3 – line:

My tutor commented that this image reminded him of the industrial images of John Davies. This was my second inspiration and it motivated me to develop a project from an image that could be considered an homage to Davies’ work.

For exercise 4.5: creativity, I found the idea of responding to an internet search very interesting. This assignment was therefore also inspired by a search for images about the power station.

I was hesitant in my decision to exaggerate the orange colour of the building since I felt it might be very amateurish. However, I thought more and more about colour after looking at how  Rinko Kawauchi used colour and the absence of colour in her work and this gave me the confidence to enhance this already bright part of my images. In terms of ‘information’, my images are very different to her illuminance image – I have used deep depth of field, and regular exposure to provide as much information as I can in my image. However, she made me think about colour in general, and from that, I thought about enhancing just a single part of my image to add additional information.

Technical

I tried to use  a consistent focal length, mostly 16mm (cropped), to ensure a sense of depth. This was not possible for my furthest distance shots since the wide angle would have rendered my subject too small in the image. I have not used a focal length above 50mm, and this in only two of my images.

I made two silly mistakes. First, I forgot to re-set my camera to capture raw after a previous shoot. My images have had only slight edits in photoshop but I would have preferred to start with a raw image rather than a jpeg.

Second, I also forgot to re-set the ISO and consequently my shoot was made at 500. I used aperture priority to ensure the depth of field that I wanted. It was a bright day and the shutter was fast enough even for the images taken from the viaduct where camera movement due to heavy traffic could have been a concern. However, I am pleased with my camera’s performance at higher ISOs and, in hindsight, feel that any effect of my mistake is minimal. However, lessons learned.

Quality of outcome

I found the selection and presentation of 10 images as a cohesive set  quite problematic. I found that I wished it had been 9, or 6, to enable me to present my three-stage progression more uniformly. However, I chose to identify the results of my exploration into the accessibility of my subject by the public as falling into three categories:

‘Remote’ (3 images), ‘Public’ (4 images), and ‘Barriers’ (3 images). I chose not to use captions or text since I didn’t want to interrupt the intended ‘flow’ or sense of movement from distance to close up, and I hoped that my intention was clear without text.

Link to exercise 5.2

Please also see my posts –

Assignment 5 – initial thoughts

Assignment 5 – contact sheets

Assignment 5 – images

Assignment 5 self-assessment

EYV Assignment 5 Self Assessment

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I gave a lot of thought to how I would capture such a large building from very far away and very close. A wide angle renders it invisible at my furthest distances, and yet with my widest 16mm I had some difficulty getting it all in at closer distances. However, I felt that I did not want a wide variation in focal lengths, and to aid consistency of information all my images were taken using my 16 – 55 mm lens. I made stupid mistakes: I had just done an indoor shoot of a school event, and I completely forgot to re-set my camera’s ISO and raw settings. I regret this but I decided not to reshoot since I was satisfied that my images were not significantly affected.

I looked at this building from many different points of view. However, this assignment was not intended to show unusual viewpoints (like Walker Evans’ bridge for example), and I think that to attempt an abstract approach or use a telephoto lens would have been incongruous. I did not want to hide that these were images of a power station, and I felt that the eye-level views matched my intention to show it how it is seen by the people who live nearby. I think my images have a consistency in terms of space and depth and I have made use of compositional techniques to draw the eye into the images. My set is perhaps not very imaginative technically but I think that it is appropriate to the final outcome.

Quality of outcome

I found the brief for ten images quite problematic. I considered presenting my images as 5 sets of two rather than 3,  4 and  3 but felt that three more distinct categories worked better than five more fluid ones. I think the three categories are quite easy for the viewer to interpret and so rejected the idea of using text to explain my intention.

I feel that I have used my personal interest, the work of other photographers, and internet inspiration to produce a study that has filled the brief and achieved what I intended it to. I can’t be certain about how my ideas will be perceived by the viewer but I am satisfied that there is a clear sense of exploration of the subject and analysis of it from different viewpoints.

Demonstration of creativity

I think I have attempted a fairly imaginative concept in response to a clear personal interest and idea. I have tried to be experimental in attempting a social comment about this new addition to the Sheffield landscape and about the incorporation of significant industrial buildings into an area of high population.

Context

I have tried to incorporate my overall learning into this assignment. I hope that the outcome shows that I have considered the learning I have done in part 5 in terms of homage photography, photography as information and storytelling and presenting alternative viewpoints, and that I have used the techniques learned from earlier in the course. I have drawn on the works of other photographers and my images 1 and 3 show that John Davies (Fuji City 2008) was a particular inspiration. I have used my understanding of saying something through photography in my attempt to present a unique view of my chosen subject.

EYV Assignment 5 Initial thoughts

My tutor, in his ‘Hangout’ feedback on part 4 of the course suggested that I should document more of my thoughts leading up to my assignment work proper, since I had told him that I thought about my ideas ‘all the time’.

I gave a lot of thought to the subject that I would choose for this assignment. In fact my thoughts about it began very early on in the course. On first reading the course literature, almost a year ago now, and with a particular interest in Emley Moor Transmitting Station, I was looking forward to exploring this subject further by using it for this assignment. I felt that the ‘mast’ would provide ample opportunity for me to photograph it in ten different ways. However, exercise 4.5, which asked students to make a screen grab of images of a particular subject and then create alternative images of it, was the ideal opportunity for me to photograph Emley Moor. Please see my exercise 4.5 on Emley Moor Transmitting station.

Following this initial idea, my thoughts, as I worked through part five, were quite random. On looking at homage photography, I felt that I would like to try to do some work inspired by Sugimoto’s seascapes, taking sea/land horizon images at different times of day and perhaps enhancing the colours in Photoshop to produce Rothko inspired images. But 10 different images, and a ‘clear sense of development’? I wasn’t so sure. I rejected this idea, but on a recent trip to Filey, I did experiment with some seascapes, and cloudscapes, and these are the subjects of separate posts: Reflection – seascapes  and  Reflection – cloudscapes.

My work on homage and my homage to Walker Evans for exercise 5.2 made me think that I could use bridges as my subject for the assignment. I felt that ten Images may be possible, each bringing something new. I had some success on  my ‘homage shoot’ with capturing bridges from very different angles and felt that I may be able to expand on this to include an examination of their function, use by the community, and their design. But as for a clear progression, I needed to think more about that and plan the shoot carefully. I rejected this idea and shelved it for future consideration.

On taking my homage picture I noticed a lot of graffiti on the bridges that I photographed and I considered graffiti art as a possible subject, or perhaps any kind of ‘writing on the wall’. I began to notice how our landscape and buildings are becoming ugly because of man-made signs, advertising, notices, ‘writing on walls’, and I realised that, contrary to general public objection to graffiti, it is actually often quite beautiful, and certainly provides a much better view that the hap-hazard displays of commercial advertising. So, this was a possible subject for my assignment but again, I needed to consider further how I could express my intention in terms of a cohesive theme. I wondered if I could juxtapose images of particularly lovely graffiti with examples of other, particularly ugly ‘writings on walls’. I did some internet research around the subject of graffiti art and felt that although I would not pursue it as a subject for this submission, I would hopefully return to it at a later date.

My thoughts fell again to industrial buildings. I had had favourable feedback from my tutor in part 1 of the course when I took some images of  the E.ON Power Station in Sheffield, for exercise 1.3 . My tutor commented that one particular image reminded him of the work of John Davies who used a high viewpoint to capture his image Fuji City (2008). Davies’s photograph shows Mount Fuji as incidental to the vast industrial landscape of the city.

I have had an interest in the E.ON power station buildings for some time and have photographed them before (not for this course). I was pleased to have the opportunity to revisit the site as my subject for assignment 5. With John Davies in mind, I considered an ‘homage to  John Davies’ as a starting point from which to then present ten images of the power station as a coherent set.

I considered relying on viewpoint and capturing images at progressively closer distance to show its relationship to the community. I searched for an image on the internet and found this:

Image 1

This is an artist’s impression of what the plant would look like when it was built. I was quite amazed to see it represented as so public a space – I have never seen this footpath or believed it was possible to get so close. This image seems to suggest that the site contains very accessible green leisure space.

My assignment submission started to take shape and I decided to explore just how accessible this power plant is to the public. There was considerable objection in Sheffield to the demolition of the old ‘twin towers’ and their replacement with this power station, with its bright orange towers, but I think these buildings are beautiful and I very much appreciated the opportunity of a closer look.

List of illustrations

1:    Ellis, V. (2017). Energy Live News – Energy Made Easy – Sheffield’s future biomass plant in pictures. [online] Energylivenews.com. Available at: http://www.energylivenews.com/2011/11/15/sheffields-future-biomass-plant-in-pictures/ (Accessed 12 April 2017)