Monday, September 28, 2009

Assignment 1: First Thoughts

Phew, first 15 projects completed in just 3 weeks, a lot of work and late nights, but great exercises.  If nothing else this course is forcing me to address new topics and getting me out and about to interact with the city.  I now have 3 weeks to develop and execute my ideas for the first assignment: "The Theory and Practice of Contrasts".

Whilst working the projects I have maintained a notebook, jotting down ideas and possible themes as I went about the exercises.  My overriding thought is that the image pairs should relate strongly to each other, not simply reflect the contrasting properties, e.g. a curved road versus a straight pencil.  On the other hand a unifying theme that links the subject matter of all of the images would be very limiting and possibly lead to a very monotonous submission.

After a great deal of thought, I have arrived at the conclusion that this is not a treasure hunt for subjects that act as good metaphors for the topics listed in the text, but should be a test in using the medium of photography to discover in the subject the contrasts requested.

Photography offers a number of degrees of freedom in how an image is created, some of these are technical, some environmental, with others provided by image production process itself:

Technical - The Camera
  1. Shutter Speed
  2. Aperture
  3. ISO
  4. Focal Length
  5. Magnification (in the case of Macro Lenses)
  6. Flash
  7. Exposure Compensation
  1. Vantage Point
  2. Ambient Lighting
  3. Background
  4. Movement - Subject or Photographer
  5. Elapsed Time
  6. Location
  7. Context - Tricky, but an object can impart contrast based on its history
  1. Cropping
  2. Colour Management
  3. Black and White
  4. Print Medium - different papers, card stock, ...
  5. Display and Mounting
The challenge that I have set myself is to produce pairs of images that have the same subject, but impart the contrast through one (or more) of the degrees of freedom listed above.

"The Contrast should originate from the act of Photography, not simply from the innate property of the Subject"

To help in working these ideas I have been sketching a few of them:

As I now have quite a few ideas and not a great deal of time to work on them (3 weekends left, 1 to be spent visiting family in UK, so effectively lost to this process), I have prepared a spredsheet to summarize ideas and track progress.  Sadly this blog only supports picture uploads so had to print and then scan this:

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