Assignment 2: Collecting

Brief

Create a series of between six and ten photographs from one of the following options, or a subject of your own choosing:
• Crowds
• Views
• Heads
Use the exercises from Part Two as a starting point to test out combinations of focal length, aperture and viewpoint for the set. Decide upon a single format, either vertical or horizontal. You should keep to the same combination throughout to lend coherence to the series.
• Crowds make a great subject for photography, not least because they are so contemporary. A city rush hour is a good place to start but events also offer great opportunities to photograph the crowd rather than the event. The foreshortened perspective of the telephoto lens will compress a crowd, fitting more bodies into the frame, but it can also be used to pick out an individual person. A wide-angle lens can capture dynamic shots from within the action.
• If you choose to make a collection of views you need to be prepared to do some walking so keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum – you’ll walk further and see more. A tripod will be important to allow you to select a combination of small aperture and slow shutter speed to ensure absolute sharpness throughout the frame. The weather and time of day will be crucial, whether for urban or landscape views. A wide-angle lens is the usual choice but Ansel Adams also used a medium telephoto to foreshorten the perspective, bringing the sky, distance and foreground closer together.
• Heads: Frame a ‘headshot’, cropping close around the head to avoid too much variety in the backgrounds. The light will be paramount and a reflector is a useful tool (you can ask the subject to hold it), throwing light up into the face, especially the eyes. The classic headshot is buoyant but neutral which is quite difficult to achieve, but try to achieve a natural rather than an artificially posed look.

Photos and Contact Sheets

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Introduction

When reading the brief I was originally drawn to the topic of ‘crowds’ but not in city centres more towards the sporting crowds, sadly due to time constraints this was unachievable in the area I live. ‘Heads’ to be honest never gave the subject a lot of thought. This of course left ‘views’ a realm I am quite comfortable in but wanted something different from my normal landscapes also to push the boundaries and my own comfort zone. The photos I have taken are of my work place, views I am lucky enough to see on a daily basis. This is a fascinating place which is an almost self sustaining business of high grade steel and iron.
The site covers 4 square miles and trying to reduce the photos I had taken to a set of 6 – 10 was a challenge in it self.
There is a strict no photograph policy in place at the steel works, which led me to having to gain permission to photograph onsite, also obtain appropriate personal protection equipment and of course I was limited to taking photographs from employee car parks, on top of this the communications centre had the right to veto all my work before allowing me to post online.
The idea behind my collection was to show my journey through the plant and what views I generally see on the way starting with the road along the Hot Rolled plant, CES, Scrap Storage Rear, Scrap Recycle, Blast Furnace 4, Concast Plant Rear, Coke Ovens, Concast and BOS Plant, Materials Stock Conveyor and finally Ship Yard. This is a route I take for granted and after 8 years tend to be blinkered from the views. To slow down, stop and regain perspective revealed a world I have become so accustomed to and had forgotten. There are a number of other buildings on the way but wanted to keep to a limited set of photos.

Research

Bernd and Hilla Becher probably the most well known Industrial Landscape photographers, both met whilst students at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1957 then went on to work as freelance photographers at Troost Advertising Agency in Düsseldorf. They then later married in 1961.
The couple started by documenting an photographing industrial architecture in Ruhr Valley where the Becher family worked in the steel and mining industry. Almost all of their work is taken in black and white as colour was consider to expensive to produce at the time.

226.2004.a-e#d#S

Bernd and Hilla Becher, Blast Furnaces 1970-1995, Art Gallery NSW website
https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/226.2004.a-e/

Technical Approach

All photos were taken with a Nikon D5600, Nikon 18-200mm lens, tripod and remote shutter trigger. Due to being quite exposed in some areas weights were used to steady the tripod. The lens choice was simple as I was only able to take photos from certain zones on site I needed both wide angle and zoom capabilities. I stuck with the aperture priority setting through out the shoot as this was a requirement for the exercises in this part of the course which was a blessing as a couple of the shots would have been missed for example ‘image 6’.

Photo data:
Image 1   ISO: 100, Focal Length: 28mm, Exposure: 1/60th at f8
Image 2   ISO: 100, Focal Length: 200mm, Exposure: 1/60th at f16
Image 3   ISO: 100, Focal Length: 55mm, Exposure: 1/200th at f4.8
Image 4   ISO: 100, Focal Length: 29mm, Exposure: 1/60th at f8
Image 5   ISO: 100, Focal Length: 70mm, Exposure: 1/80th at f9
Image 6   ISO: 100, Focal Length: 130mm, Exposure: 1/125th at f5.6
Image 7   ISO: 100, Focal Length: 130mm, Exposure: 1/125th at f5.6
Image 8   ISO: 100, Focal Length: 55mm, Exposure: 1/160th at f4.8
Image 9   ISO: 100, Focal Length: 120mm, Exposure: 1/160th at f5.3
Image 10 ISO: 100, Focal Length: 27mm, Exposure: 1/200th at f8

Self Assessment

I feel the images work well with each other but should have been taken on the same day as even though the days were cloudy the light seemed slightly stronger on the first day leaving me to have to adjust in post processing. Another qualm I have is is it alright to post process and if yes by how much? Is it to the photographer gratification or to what is expected of him/her? Myself I think ‘Image 6’ maybe be misplaced no matter how much I actually like the photo I am not completely convinced it fits in the set. Again I should concentrate on more research before proceeding with a photo shoot. This time I did however spend more time looking and preparing the shots instead of getting flustered and rushing. My confidence I believe to have improved since starting the course and now feel as if I am aiming in the right direction.

Tutor’s Feedback

Please feel free to click the link below regarding my tutor’s feedback

Tutor’s Feedback Link

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