Assignment Two Elements of Design
Recommendations that came from the last assignment included working out of my comfort zone so that I am able to make ‘mistakes’ and come across ‘happy accidents’ and to become more experimental with my work. Bearing this in mind I have looked at different angles and approaches to my images.
The purpose of this assignment is to think of a photograph not in the terms of its subject but as an arrangement of dark and light tones and to be able to identify the graphic elements within it. Colour can be a distraction in this context as it functions in a different way from points, lines and shapes sometimes overwhelming the other components, therefore I have chosen to present my work as black and white images.
Freeman talks about graphic and photographic elements in his book The Photographer’s Eye, he states (2007:65)
What we choose to identify in a photograph as a point, line or shape
often depends on how we ourselves choose to consider an image,
and this can be influenced by the content and our understanding of
and interest in it.
The idea is to produce 10 – 15 photographs of a similar subject that will show the following effects:
- Single point dominating the composition
- Two points
- Several points in a deliberate shape
- A combination of vertical and horizontal lines
- Distinct, even if irregular shapes
- At least two kinds of implied triangles
The suggested list of subjects are:
- Flowers and plants
- Street details
- The raw materials of food
- Or own subject
As I normally take photographs of landscapes I decided to work with flowers and plants.
A single point dominating the composition
Single point (F/7.1 1/200secs ISO200 60mm)
I had originally decided on using a dandelion seed head as the subject for the single point image but then on exploring the garden I found this flower hidden under a shrub. I like the way the stamens of the flower are in contrast to the petals, in fact on closer inspection there is a point within a point.
Two points (f/2.8 1/2500sec ISO100 60mm)
I had a choice of open flowers for the points but liked the image of a larger and smaller point for this composition, they stand out against the blurred background.
Several points in a deliberate shape
Several points in a deliberate shape (f/6.3 1/125sec ISO200 60mm)
I did not want to use set up situations for any of the images I chose for this assignment and was struck by the way the daisies were naturally group into a deliberate triangular shape.
A combination of vertical and horizontal lines
A combination of vertical and horizontal lines (f/7.1 1/800sec ISO200 60mm)
I took many photographs looking for a combination of vertical and horizontal lines, I closely examined branches of trees and shrubs but they often looked messy. In the end I decided to work with a group of grasses that had been allowed to flourish in front of the garage wall. Focusing on the stems gave clear vertical lines and I deliberately kept the lines on the garage blurred. The image benefitted from being in black and white.
Diagonals (f/2.8 1/80secs ISO100 60mm)
I have chosen 3 images to demonstrate diagonals, the first being a small branch on the apple tree.
Diagonals (f/2.8 1/250secs ISO200 60mm)
The second image is of a trailing plant against the weave of the basket it is planted in. To emphasise the diagonal I took the photograph at an angle. I like the effect of the slightly blurred basket diagonals which make the plant stand out.
Diagonals (f/6.3 1/40secs ISO200 60mm)
The final diagonal photograph is of a broom tree branch, I feel the spikiness of the plant comes across in the image.
Curves (f/3.5 1/100secs ISO250 60mm)
This is one of my favourite images, the grass leaf is weighted down by the rain curving towards the viewer, the softness of the photograph is enhanced by the curves of the water droplets and the blurred background.
Curves (f/2.8 1/250secs ISO200 60mm)
Without colour it is difficult to see this image as that of a plant leaf, it could be a fossil or carved from stone. It is interesting how thick the hosta leaf is and I like the way the leaf indentations radiate out from a centre point.
Distinct even if irregular shapes
Distinct even if irregular shapes (f/2.8 1/125secs ISO100 60mm)
Even though this image is of different plants it is interesting how similar the shapes are. The bigger bramble leaf pushing its way through the smaller plants that cover the soil.
Distinct even if irregular shapes (f5.6 1/80secs ISO200 85mm)
I added this image as I wanted to show the beauty of the shape that the nettle plant has, the way each layer of two leaves are at right angles to each other. On reflection if I could have isolated it from the nearby plants the image would have more of an impact.
Implied triangles (f/3.5 1/200secs ISO250 60mm)
The three leaves of this plant imply a triangle if you join the points of their leaves together, pehaps another image which may benefit from isolation from it’s background.
Implied triangle (f/7.1 1/30secs ISO200 60mm)
This elder tree has grown from branches where the trunk has divided at ground level. It suggests a triangle with the apex at the bottom of the picture.
Rhythm (f/6.5 1/80secs ISO200 60mm)
This plant is known as Soloman’s tears, it grows in shady places and the tear like flowers hang below the leaves. To get this image I used a tripod on its lowest height so I could get the perspective of being at flower level. There is a rhythm to the way the clusters of 3 flowers hang at regular intervals almost like notes on a musical score. The way the stem bends slightly also suggest the viewers eyes move from left to right.
Pattern (f/2.8 1/200secs ISO100 60mm)
I hadn’t intended on using the dandelion seed head for this image but it was a ‘happy accident’ and I became excited when the image began to form in the view finder. I was experimenting on how close I could get with the macro lens before it became impossible to focus the image. I used a tripod and had to very carefully place it so as not to knock the seed head and dissipate the seeds. I took a number of images but none were as good as the first one.
The final part of the assignment is reflecting against the assessment criteria for the course. This can be found on page 10 of the course notes.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills
This includes materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.
From completing this assignment I can say that my observational skills when it comes to looking out for the graphic elements in images and subject matter has definitely improved, however I must make sure that it doesn’t take over. I am becoming more aware of the technical elements of the camera although I have improved I still have a long way to go until it becomes natural and I don’t have to keep referring to my written help sheet.
Quality of outcomes
This includes, content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.
As I become more confident with this style of learning I feel I have used the knowledge gained in completing the exercises in part two to a better affect. I took many more photographs than I needed and became quite critical, discarding images and reshooting. I experimented with various presentations and settled on using black and white images.
Demonstration of Creativity
The criteria for this section is imagination, experimentation, invention and development of a personal voice.
I feel that I am beginning to develop a style even if I have not found my ‘voice’ yet, this assignment has enabled me to experiment in different ways. To complete the exercises for part 2 I found myself taking photographs of images outside my comfort zone, standing in the middle of a busy town, looking at images of buildings, using different angles and perspectives.
Reflection, research, critical thinking.
With each exercise I am finding myself becoming more familiar with the technology of the DSLR camera and contributing to the online learning log. On recommendation from my tutor under suggested reading/viewing I have applied to become a student member of the Association of Photographers, I have also looked at some of the work of Penn-Weston and have looked at new work. I was particularly fascinated by the recent cloud photographs of Berndnaut Smilde.
Cotton, Charlotte (2009). The Photograph as Contemporary Art (2nd revised ed), Thames and Hudson
Freeman, Michael, (2007). The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos, The Ilex Press.
Hunter, Fil et al, (2009). Light: Science and Magic. An Introduction to Photographic Lighting, Focal Press.
Wells, Liz, (2009). Photography: A Critical Introduction (2nd edition), Routledge.