Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Assignment 2: First Thoughts

Now that Assignment 1 is complete and graded I am turning my thoughts to Assignment 2 and colour. I have read ahead a little and also gained insight from Johannes Ittens book, The Elements of Color.  The brief asks for 16 images in roughly 4 groups of 4 images:

Colour harmony through complementary colours
Colour harmony through similar colours
Colour contrast through contrasting colours
Colour accent using any of the above

My first thought is once again to try and provide some structure to the assignments.  In theory I could treat this as 16 separate images and spend time looking for combinations of colour that work within the guidelines, I spend at least 8-10 hours a week camera in hand, walking through the city.  However, this seems to lack purpose and even if I planned each shot in advance and carefully composed them, I would still end up with 16 highly colourful, but individual unrelated images.  Instead my plan is to work around a number of subjects, and within each subject illustrate the 4 separate contrasts

Currently I have 4 master themes in mind and within each theme subjects that could be the basis of the assignment, ideally one subject from each theme, unless there is a major problem with one of them:

The Natural World

  • Close ups of autumn leaves
  • Autumn trees on a larger scale
  • Plants
  • Zoo Animals

  • A Church
  • A Modern Building
  • One of Munichs Museums - the BMW museum would be a good choice
  • A Shop or Shopping Arcade

Created - i.e. a still life that I put together under controlled lighting, etc.
  • Coloured Glass
  • Cut Flowers - Macro close ups
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Food in General - Fruit&Vegetables

Found Situations
  • Market Stalls - Fruit, Veg, meat, ...
  • The Christmas markets - very colorful, open just the end of November
  • Garbage/Detritus of life - discarded paper, packaging
  • Shop arrangements - especially heading into Christmas
  • Christmas - maybe focusing on the gaudy end of things

My plan would be to create 4 images with each of the colour combinations for each subject.

The first one I have been working on for some time are Autumn leaves and I use this as an example.  From a colour point of view I have a limited palette, but a one rich in tone:

Leaves: Orange, Red, Yellow, Green, Yellow Green
Tree: Brown, Black, Moss Green
Sky: Blue, White

I have been experimenting with shooting vertically upwards into the trees trying to image the colour formed by the light passing through the leaves and framed against either the blue sky or other similarly coloured leaves.  This intensifies the colours and creates stunning images.  The fact that the light is transmitted also balances the contrast against the blue sky and avoids washing out the sky, reflected light can be much stronger and leads to a less strong image.  The following image illustrates colour harmony through complimentary colours, in this case orange and blue, although there should ideally be more blue in this image

I am also very fond of this image as it was included in a best of readers image gallery in the Guardian today, the first time any newspaper has used one of my images.

The complete 4 images would then build around this one, with e.g.

  1. colour harmony coming from lime green leaves with no sky
  2. colour contrast coming from red leaves on green or very yellow leaves on the blue sky again
  3. colour accent, perhaps a single leaf on the end of a branch against the blue sky
In this way I would have 4 images all of the same essential subject, leaves, but providing all of the colour pairs.

The reason why I am starting so quickly on this assignment is that the leaf concept is time critical, I have maybe another 2 weeks to complete the image sequence.

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