Final Reflection PB4 Post #4

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I went in to this course expecting I would fall back on the same ideas and themes I had explored during my last year of high school. This wasn’t the case, as I was lucky enough to find new inspiration through a photography magazine and channel that for my first and second project briefs. This was important to me, as I often did not go out and seek inspiration, I would play my work close to home, not wanting to feel jealous or psyched out by the work other media partitioners produce. This is something I want to move away from in the future and really push myself in the brainstorming phase to look at other works, reference other styles as the photographer I chose, Magdalena Wywrot, really helped me understand how through photography a mood could be captured.  This was important to set up at the very start of the course, because perviously I had felt all there was to taking a photo was technique, in the way where if you hit every box (focus, centre frame, light, clarity) it’ll be a good photo. But when looking at Wywrot’s photos, although the technique was there, a mood and feeling radiated out of the photos, something that had been achieved by carefully considering what techniques would be used. Not everything had to be in focus, not everything had to be clear, all these photos had to do was keep in line with the mood she was trying to evoke something that would help me a great deal in PB4 when creating a photobook. The edges exercise in class was also a great way to make me start thinking about where my subject should be positioned in the photograph and I was able to use quiet a few of these photos in my PB4 pitch. This exercise extended into the idea of how cropping and composition would work to create images that better suited a uncomfortable and eerie mood, as denying the viewer information worked along aside with the high contrast and long exposure shots.

PB4 was important, as it showed me I could have my own point of view in photography and how I could express it through my photobook. I’ve talked about this in a earlier post, but as I continued to think about this idea of “capturing what captures you” I also realised that I wanted to express a mood or a feeling from my photography because I wanted it to last, to stay with the viewer long after they’ve closed the pages of my book. While it may not always happen, it is still a standard I can hold my work to, outside of just pure technical skill which often felt uncomfortable and to subjective for me in my pervious studios.

I project brief I really struggled in, was PB3 as I did not give myself enough time to play with ideas and seek out feedback from an unbiased source. This was the only photos I took where I did not have complete control over the light and space of the photo and would have benefited from taking test shots or just spending more time with my subjects, trying different things. This is something I struggled with in PB4 too, as I felt I was asking for to much time of my subjects. In the future I will try to break the shoot up when possible, rather than trying to get everything on the one day. This will also help identity what is missing from my shots.

Overall I really enjoyed this course, and how I grew as a photographer, while I may still need to spend more time out in the world practicing I can do so knowing where I stand and what I want to create. I’ve also identified areas such as time management, research and inspiration  that I will look to improve in all areas of my media practice.


“Engaging” the Photobook PB4 Post #3

Earlier I wrote a piece exploring my understanding of a photobook and how I wanted to start P4 with these principles in mind. The post can be found here and Gossage’s principles are as follows;

1. Should contain great work
2. That work should then function as a concise world within the book itself
3. The design of the book should complement what’s being dealt with
4. The book should deal with content that sustains an ongoing interest.

I was curious to see if I would agree with these qualities after I had produced my final photobook and in most ways I do.

1. Great work, while seemly subjective also makes sense for the scope of the photobook. Unlike a photo journal I believed that each photo has carry the same impact and weight as the last. Otherwise it will stick out like a sore thumb. Unlike a journal you are not telling a story from beginning to end, each photo should be able to communicate with one another, from anywhere in the book and a weak photo subtracts from this. In the future I hope to take even more photos when creating a photobook, because while piecing together the book at times it felt like I wanted more variety in a shot, for example a medium inside of a close up. Though I had taken a lot of photos, I didn’t allow myself to focus on a certain pose and try different angles, zoom and light something I will have to work on in the future if I really want the best shot of the “great work.”

2. It really was important that I kept everything returning back to that dark eerie theme. The consult with Bella was practically useful in this as she pointed out photos in my book that didn’t fit within the world. Example this image was flagged as being almost sexy; and therefore through a spanner in the the overall theme and feeling of the book.

I found that it having the extra set of eyes, really helped as I would not have picked up on this myself. I will work to continue to show others my work in the future giving them as little information as possible to what I’m trying to achieve so I can see what fits within the sequence and what doesn’t. This is something I wish I had be able to do with my first photo journal (PB3) as time management had not given me the chance to show off the work to unbiased parties looking to give constructive criticism of my work.

Another instance this occurred was when deciding on a title for the photobook as that also worked to add to the world. Brain suggested getting out a thesaurus and really try to find something that tied the whole book together. I had discussed how in pervious posts that the name was going to work to unite the book, even more so then the design or the sequencing and again, feedback was the key to finding the title Seize. To further help me in the future I’ll look to brainstorm ideas on paper, as I had only really played with words in my head. It wasn’t until i sat down and starting writing out the words I was able to find the right word.


Design played a huge roll in the piecing together of my photobook, it lost all it’s intensity and mood when I set the images on a white background rather than black. The idea that the design should complement the images was the quality I knew would matter from the start and something as simple as a fill colour change affected the overall mood. I will continue to design around my photos in the future. As for layout, this was something that just came from trail and error. Looking at the images getting them set how I wanted then asking for feedback. This again is really just a time practice and I will make sure to continue to leave enough time to play with my images in terms of layout.

4. This fourth quality was something I struggled with the most, as I wasn’t sure it would sustain a interest or if anyone would want to keep looking at my photobook. While I do think this is the case, your photobook should hold the viewers interest. I also think it’s not something you can always get on your first try. All you can do to overcome this, is produce your best work, as you can’t control how people will react to it. I picked a mood that I wanted to share with others through my photobook and if through my final feedback I am not successful I will take the critique and work to produce something better next time. As I feel all subject matters have interest it’s how you execute it that counts the most.

Overall I feel as if I tried to keep these qualities in the back of my mind when creating my photobook and wouldn’t have created a piece of work I was happy with, had I not keep seeking feedback based on each of these points.

Uses of Photography PB4 Post #2

Joanna Zylinska in citing Jai Mckenzie (2014) defines photo-mediations as “light based practices” (2016, p.11). By proposing that photography is studied through it’s mediation and movement rather than the technology attached to it, Zylinska is able to conclude that photography works to cut mediation, therefore works to edit and shape life it’s self (2o16, p.13).

This was practically important to me as I began to produce PB2. Realising that while I would have normally used photography to create memories, I was actively working to push sequencing and editing to forth the feelings and moods I wanted acknowledged. By detaching photography from only being an act of preservation (Zylinska, 2016, p.13) I was able to start unconsciously acting on how I wanted to use photography to communicate my ideas to others. Though back in week 4 this merely came out as; “I want people to feel something when they look at my work.”  However this was not feelings to do with remembering, no nostalgia or yearning for a childhood lost.  I wanted to bring out emotions I was feeling right now in this time and place – something I had considered impossible for me to perviously achieve.

The idea that photography wasn’t just for capturing the past,was something that hung over me as I first entered this course. My brainstorming all seemed to be imbedded in the past with me wanting to revisit old work I had down perviously and even exploring the type of fear linked to childhood. While knowing from the beginning photography’s ability to create the timelines (Zylinska, 2016, p.7), we traverse, it’s through this course and this practical reading that I was able to explore it’s other uses.

In the future I want to continue to use photography to communicate the present, to cut into life and pull out the  emotions and moods I want to convey – using photography as a tool to create new perspectives, rather than playing it safe to retell the old.


Setting the Mood PB4 Post #1

Reflections from Panel: 
When pitching my idea and original images, I was relived that straight away the mood I was trying to get across was picked up by the panel. Dark, eerie and an uncomfortableness brought on through absence of colour. The idea that you can create a photo book solely on a emotion is what I want to work towards. Dan brought up the point, what I would really need to look at my black points and white points, as not to completely wash out my images. When editing test shots I still feel as if I’m not getting a complete tonal range and will need to consider how I can overcome this. Brain suggested a tool that aids in creating black and white images that I will look at, as I want to achieve the best results for my final product. All and all I feel as if I’m confident in the direction I’m heading. In the following weeks I’ve have a photo shoot with my model, so I can focus on the body as I did in PB2, however I will still practice by taking every day photos and trying to capture that same dark mood I want to focus my photobook on.

Test Shots: Taken on Iphone 6S

When playing around in Photoshop, I found cropping this image helped remove elements that confused the atmosphere. For example, although the light adds some nice contrast it distracts from the ominous alley that stretches before the viewer.

The same goes for this image of pigeons. The picture on the left with the pigeon flying in gives the viewer reassurance the the birds are fine, it also mimics the symbol of a dove which is important to note when considering how one might read my photobook. The picture on the right however is much more successful in creating the mood, as the pigeons almost look lifeless.

Continuing with this photobook I will have to stop thinking about what makes a good photo and consider what works to progress my story, as I want this photobook to sit on the mood of uneasy/uncomfortable.

Moving toward I will need to download InDesign to start playing around with how I can position images and whether the contrasting of white and black images together ads to my overall theme.
I will also need to start brainstorming a title the more the photo book comes together. As Brian highlighted that a strong title will unify everything I put into the book if I want it to.


“Reading” the Photobook

Images taken from:

In Gerry Badger’s  text “Reading” the Photobook an important definition is made between looking at a photo and reading a photobook. The idea that a narrative is needed to succeed in creating a photobook is made clear simply by examining the language Badger uses. The importance of narrative is what allows photos to be interpreted and read even as individual shots as I will need to be focusing on how each image is contributing to my narrative as I begin work on PB4.
The above image is extracted from Sonja Braas’s the passage. While I can read these images alone, commenting on how still and serene the waters look, I can only draw this conclusion as the images that proceed this one are of the sea in the morning. Rather than fear, I can interpret the piece as a serene passing of time by reading all the images together.

Another point I found interesting was Badger’s conclusion that this narrative is one “solely [of] the author’s creation. This stood out to me as through my own experience with media and mentioned in Bella’s lecture is the idea that once media leaves the hands of the author it is dead. In the eyes of the audience it can take on new forms and meanings. This highlights that my PB4 has to tell my story without me needing to be there, over the shoulders of my audience, and explaining my intent.  To achieve this I hope to rely on not only my images but the design of my book, as Gossage states in his third rule of the great photobook; the design should complement what is being dealt with. To return to Braas’s work the title the passage, gives me the context to understand that these pictures capture change and passing.

I have chosen to focus on Braas work as it contains contrast not only images but the sequencing of the images, something I had not considered before I needed to display my work as a photobook. Contrast as a technique is something I want to continue to explore in PB4 however it is finding the narrative I will have to devote more time and brainstorming to as I want to create a photobook that can be considered good literature.

To end this entry I wanted to outline Gossage’s four essential photobook qualities as they are the basis which I can start creating my work, I am also curious to see if I will still agree with each statement by the time this project is over:

1. Should contain great work
2. That work should then function as a concise world within the book itself
3. The design of the book should complement what’s being dealt with
4. The book should deal with content that sustains an ongoing interest.

Fear and Loathing in Photo Journaling

Sequential Story Telling 
During class exercise “The Exchange” I worked very literally with the theme. Although it was it noted that some images needed to create a sequence I wanted to push myself during PB3 to tell a more abstract story. Here is an example of a sequence I had shot:

However when creating my story the 10 to 17 shot restriction really forced my hand not to waste a single slot. As I was trying to capture the overall atmosphere of the bar and it’s owners, I couldn’t spend to long unfolding a single sequence. Below is what this original sequence morphed into this over time and what I went with in the final brief.

It was a challenge to merge images that spoke to my subject matter over ones that were already conveniently in a sequence or ones I found to be a better shot. Overall I’m happy with how the story unfolding, I tried to follow these four principles in order to convey the atmosphere of Bar Sk.

When raising my camera I found it easier to break up in my head what shot I was capturing, while looking back at what was taken I was able to see if I was lacking any photos in a category.
I was also lucky enough to show the work to a variety of friends asking if anything needed to be changed or didn’t make sense. In the future I would like to find a more diverse range of peers to show my work to, as my friends obviously have more bias than someone unaware of my intentions and my person.

Confidence and Experience 
I feel like journaling would be a lot easier once I became a more experienced photographer as my images would all of quality.  At a basic photography level I felt myself struggling to capture such a dark environment such as a bar, I wanted to retain the dim, cosy quality through my images, but think focus and exposure struggled because of it. Also moving between outside and inside was also proved to be challenging as I would have to reconfig my whole set up. I should have given myself more time to learn how to shoot in the area but often found myself just wanting to get the shot done as quickly as possible, and bothering the owners as little as I could. This lack of experience and confidence is something that can again only improve with practice. The in class exercises have helped with this in some ways but I still find myself struggling to ask people to take their photographs. I might try building this confidence by working my way up to asking strangers, I might start with friends of friends, or my partners family first.

Scraping Ideas
Originally I had planned to focus on friend who collected keycaps. I had spent quiet a lot of time story boarding a well thought out plan documented shot for shot in pervious blog post. However after a conversation with Brian I found myself reconsidering the whole idea. While I had planned a lot of interesting shots and a easy to follow story, I began to ask myself if I was just settling for what was easy rather than really pushing to tell a good story. The idea of focusing on a hobby in a bedroom didn’t compare to how interesting interior and relationships of SK turned out to be. I am hoping in the future that I can identify the more interesting idea earlier as I wasted a lot of my planing on it. I feel as if this project brief would have turned out better had I had more time to plan what I wanted to shoot and had spent some time with the owners and the space beforehand. I will try to employ brainstorming in the next project so I don’t fall on whatever idea I think of first, and consult with my peers and lecturer asking for feedback sooner rather than later.

Failure to Collaborate 
Unfortunately based on the people I had access to, it was hard for me to find someone who was comfortable being photographed by a stranger. As most of my contacts where my age with interesting hobbies, they did not feel comfortable sharing that with someone they weren’t close to. After moving on from keycaps, I approached a friend that I knew had visited SK Bar as he was studying game design, however he expressed concern that he would be misrepresented as he felt he didn’t frequent there enough or feel to be cemented in that community. Luckily he was able to suggest another acquaintance and I was able to get the strange community needed to complete this brief.  This exercise has taught me a lot about how to mark a potential subject or collaborator as some people are more comfortable in their selves and how they are represented than others. Most people need to trust that whoever is handling them wont do harm or falsely present them.

Final Reflections 
Even though I am not happy with my photo journal as I still worry it does not convey a strong enough story, nor was it shot practically well – I am glad I pushed myself beyond confront zone. I hope to continue this heading into PB4 as well as my future practices. Next time I will try to spend more time getting comfortable with the unfamiliar space and allow more time to plan out shots or not be afraid to ask for certain photos I need to take. This photo journal proved to be the hardest brief I’ve encountered, but I know that when done right, photos are a powerful medium to convey a story through. That’s why I would someday like to get better at creating them.

Meeting Brief 7.2

While it was my original idea to focus on a individual who collected keycaps as I begun my storyboarding I was struggling to a story without the appearance of the community. Not only did this absence mean I was not completely the project brief but left me with a weak storytelling thread.  This was the original shot list I had:

Shot 1: Medium shot of Jake at his desk computer is in fame as well as keyboard
Shot 2: Close up on fingers typing on keys, long exposure (?) to capture led on keys and finger strokes.
Shot 3: Over shoulder shot of screen, would have forum post (GeekHack) in focus.

Shot 3 was originally important as I wanted to try and create the idea of community however without actual psychical interaction I am limited to the same area (a bedroom and desk) for a lot of the shots.

Shot 4: [Move outside] Checking mail taking from inside the house
Shot 5: Unboxing of the keycaps, close up on hands
Shot 6: Replacing caps, would try to take from above while he was on floor to create child like wonder of playing with toys
Shot 7: Long shot would have Jake standing at train station with board underarm like brief case
Shot 8: Jake waiting in fed square: he’s on the edge of the frame and a figure can be seen approaching in background
Shot 9: Close up on the exchange of key caps
Shot 10: Jake returning home and checking the mail again
Shot 11: Jake in bed with keyboard in 2/3 of the frame glowing.

Although I find this shots would make interesting stills they upon further reflection do not create a story. They would be much rather suited to another collection for future projects.

Over the weekend I’m hoping to get in touch with the games design community in Melbourne in order to see if a more interesting photo journal can be created.

Lightworks 7.1

In prep for project brief 3, Ceyda and I went to the studio to practice lighting and it’s effects on the face. It was a overwhelming experience and in hindsight I wish I had played more with the angles of the light, but overall it was a valuable shooting session. I enjoyed the control the studio offered, with the ability to just focus on the subject rather than background visuals, natural lighting and other interference.

f/9  1/4 s  ISO 800

f/10 1/50 s ISO 800

f/11 1/13s ISO 800

f/11  1/13 s  ISO 800

f/5.6  1/125 ISO 1600

f/5.6  1/125 s  ISO 1600 (exposure compensation)

This shot was mostly to practice fstop and shutter speed it took awhile to pick how much light I should let in. This is something I’ll have to be mindful of when shooting my third brief. I think I prefer the 3rd shot of Ceyda as the lighting while still looking natural unlike the first image, still adds a flare of drama and interest to the subject. I am curious to try reflectors to achieve this effect in the future rather than coloured light.

The high contrast shots are also a continuation of my work in project brief 2 as it is a technique I am still looking to practice. I still think I need to work on being mindful of spotlighting as I causes a gradient in the background. I also an unhappy of the focus in image five as it does not look as sharp. Im not sure if I can work this technique into my next project but it is definitely something I want to explore in my final photo book.

The Salt of The Earth

Susan Sotang offers a bleak look at photographic journalists, and the impact of their work. However I think this is more to do with how the photo is viewed rather than the image itself. In class on Tuesday, a warning was posted on the door. It instructed us to take a deep breathe before we came in and watched todays screening. Warned us of images of death and famine. In a magazine it is easy to flip to another page,  In a dark classroom, where images are projected on the whiteboard and the tv screens it is hard to look away. You focus on the gasps, you feel the uncomfortable tension radiating off the bodies around you. Atrocity is easier to dismiss alone.

How are these images really made ordinary – if not through constant exposure is it through their commodification. Does the same to “deaden the conscience” to view these works in galleries and does it change when we view this beside another, with a hand over yours as you turn the page?

How do we create an image to impact people alone, without anyone to measure their reactions to?
Can we really communicate anything anymore if we as an audience are overwhelmed with signs and images?

Week 5 – Uncomfortable on The Streets

I think there’s a certain intimacy that comes with taking a photo. Something I don’t quiet know how to approach or handle.
That’s why this week it was a huge challenge to take my phone to the streets and ask people to capture something that felt so forced. I tried to crack jokes, to smile, to make them feel comfortable but I was just taking these photos to fill a quota something I couldn’t seem to shake off as I ticked off another portraits completed. While I see the beauty in the canid, in everyday life…I just don’t think it’s a style I’d ever be comfortable with myself. I am to soft, unable to put the means of art, above someone else’s comfort and it felt I was asked to do in Fridays exercise.

People will say that when you enter a public space you’re already on camera. It’s the law  – you’re allowed to take photos in public spaces. But we leave things up to context, we scowl at boys who take photos of girls in their school dresses. Make a distinction that as long as it’s art we’re not exploiting anyone. That this persons entire life isn’t reduced to a blurry photograph I took in a panic to get out of their hair, or a framed piece of “art” on the walls of a gallery opening we paid money to enter.

In preparation for this next assignment I will take the effect to get to know my subject, maybe treat them to lunch and really make sure they want their life and body obscured by my shaky hands. Above all else this is whats important to me as a media practitioner.