Saturday, January 14, 2012

Assignment 3: The Photographs

It took some time, but I finally managed to edit down to the 8 shots that became the submission for this assignment.  This was a far more difficult task than I have experienced in the past, primarily, I believe, because the set had a limited narrative.  There is a story, it is about the changing of the light both as the dawn progresses, but then modulated by the changing time of year.  However, this story has multiple means for expression and my photographs could have been sequenced with many different scheme, time of day, colour, date, location.

As it turned out I decided to follow a rough timeline associated with the changes in the light as the sun rose.  From early October to late December the absolute time of these events changed, however, there was a distinct chronology in the sequencing.  I was quickly able to sort the photographs into 4 distinct colour groups, White, Gold, Blue, and Full spectrum.  It could be argued that there were more, however, others were simply variations on one of these 4.  I opted to take 2 photographs from each colour grouping with very different compositional content.  The structure and arrangement of objects in the frame was a consideration, but by far subordinate to the quality of the colour of light and its interaction with the mist.  In my write up I reference Joel Meyerowitz and Richard Misrach, two photographic artists who also place colour above structure as the guiding element in their landscape photographs.

When I finally arrived at the 8 photographs I decided not to use titles or to provide any exposure data, I did not think this relevant to the study and in particular the exposure data would add a technical note to a set of images in which feeling and emotion have a greater import.  I did, however, label each photograph with the date and time on which it was captured.  Here came the big surprise!  Without any intent I found that the 8 images came from 5 shoots out of the 22+ that made up my overall project.  Probability theory alone would probably suggest one pair on the same date, but 3?  I guess there were simply days when the conditions simply worked and produced a richer vein of photographs.

In any case, here are the photographs, together with the description used in my submission document:

9th November 7:28am

Early, well before sunrise, light barely penetrates the early morning mist
I start my set with this deliberately washed out capture of a small stand of trees in the centre of the park.  Adding this image to the set took some thought and is risky.  I have individually stronger images than this, however, this is a key stage in the gradual illumination of the park and so an important part of the story.

21st October 8:10am

As the light brightens, colour and form start to emerge from the blanket of mist
Whilst developing this extended project I found that cropping the tops of the trees pulled the eye into the frame to explore what is behind the trees, rather than pulling back and looking at the trees themselves. Here I have used this device to bring attention to the two people emerging from the background mist. 

14th October 8:17am

Momentarily the sun floods the mist with golden light. 
In this photograph I have tried to capture the essence of this evocative light and the interplay with the mist. I have included the jogger to add an element of scale and movement to the photograph, but my intent with this photograph was colour versus form.

14th October 8:14am

Punctuating the light, a silhouetted tree projects its shadow into the mist.
Taken at almost the same time as the 3rd image, this shot has a very different visual quality.  The tree shapes the light through the shadows cast into the mist rising from the now visible water. Once more, early morning inhabitants of the park add movement and an element of humanity to the photograph. 

27th December 9:11am

As the year closes a frigid blue contrasts the golden warmth of the sun.
The combination of thin mist with an icy ground and clear sky has created a blue landscape punctuated here and there by the golden light of the sun. I only had moments to capture the delicate lighting of the mist rising from the cold water.  This and the next photograph were taken with my new Fujifilm X100. The quality of blue is something I think Fuji deliberately builds into their cameras, a legacy of their colour film past.

27th December 8:37am

Low lying mist explodes with colour as the rising sun penetrates winter trees.
During my many early morning visits to the park I was fascinated by occasional low lying bands of mist, but struggled to capture anything more than a muddy line in my photographs.  On this morning, the sun rising through the trees briefly set the mist afire adding the necessary drama to the shot, helped by the ubiquitous cyclist.  I have wondered whether the cyclist was aware of the blaze they appeared to be cycling through.

21st  October 8:25am

As the morning commute hits its peak, the sun gradually warms the autumn trees
My most evocative shots were generally taken with the lens pointing into the direction of the sun; however, looking the other way I captured a more tranquil softer light.  During this study I also spent much time observing cyclists in the park waiting for juxtapositions of light and bicycle.

29th October 9:01am

Suddenly the drama is over and the world settles back to its familiar colour palette.
My final shot captures the park in the minutes just after the sun has risen high enough to completely flood the park with light, but not yet warm away the remaining mist.  This short stretch of stream and the trees in the background were the location for all of the photographs in this set

No comments:

Post a Comment