lagging behind and feeling uninspired not a good combination

So I haven’t posted in a while as to be perfectly honest I lost my spark I started off well and had my doubts about the document as a photograph and enjoyed the exercises even the street photography exercise which I had not been looking forward to but ended up enjoying. Well the assignment has just made me loose interest and I had made a good start but that didn’t work out and have been struggling. I need to get back on track and bosh this assignment on and the out the way so I can move on to better things as I really have been putting it off which is not good at all. So last weekend I took a trip to Clevedon beach in Somerset and decided to spark some inspiration again to get me moving and get this assignment out of the way. 

I decided to do a kind of documentary/ street captures of my day and use them towards this part and with the hope it would help me ignite some passion again which it did just not for the assignment but I have had a stern word with myself and I am on the way to finishing my assignment. I know this is not going to be the best assignment I have done but I cant love everything can i?

 So the first set of images are upon arrival 

collage 1

And the second set are along the Victorian pier 

collage 2

and then onto a coastal walk

collage 3

I also tried to take photos of people such as the man walking the dog the people sat in the little hut by the pier and people on the beach and walking as I though I would try and challenge myself a little slowly getting more confident.


Assignment preparation

For the past week or so I have not really had much time to focus on much on work which has been annoying but i shall be back at it, I have had some time to make progress though on my preparation for the first assignment of this module. I did like some of the ideas that were suggested but I have an idea of my own that I am currently researching upon to hopefully move forward with and I think it could work well if i execute it right.  

Exercise: Manipulation

For this exercise I was asked to make an image which visually appears to be a documentary photograph but could never actually be.


So my photograph is not a typical approach to documentary style as usually this involves scenes of war or tragedy but I think I still had this in my mind for my composition, as the thinking behind this photograph was people who had stories to tell for example seeing things they should not and having to keep what they know a secret for fear of their life/lives. So my thought was to take a photograph which showed them having the want and need to tell and getting the courage to break the silence, where the mouth breaks through the hand keeping the mouth quiet but then the bars on the mouth still hold that silence as even though they get through the first step there will always be a barrier or though to keep them back from speaking out and this is how i ended up with my photograph.

Social documentary and photo manipulation

Today I came across a video on youtube which I thought was very useful too what I am currently doing in this section of work which is documentary photography and manipulation of photographs. 

This video is posted by the metropolitan museum of art and is of a Miles D Orvell , a professor in English and American studies and discusses the resemblances in H.P Robinsons a pictorial editor with W. Eugene Smith a social documentary photographer. Even though both photographers worked in different genres of photography, they both still manipulated images whilst photographing them by getting actors and by sketching out what they wanted to achieve beforehand also re-shooting images several times until the desired image had been captured.

Exercise: Sarah Pickering

I was asked to look at the series public order by Sarah Pickering.

Here are some of the images from the series taken from her website. 

Sarah Pickering- public order series- Denton underground station 2003


Sarah Pickering- public order series – lola court 2004


Sarah Pickering- public order series- front garden school road, 2005


Sarah Pickering- public order series- Furrance street- 2004


Sarah Pickering- public order series, off vickers east court street 2004


Sarah pickering- public order series- phonebox east court street 2005


Sarah Pickering- public order- violent men 2002

Sarah Pickering- public order- high street 2002


Sarah Pickering- public order series- Victoria road 2002


Sarah Pickering- public order series- flicks nightclub 2004


I also stumbled across a video of Sarah Pickering talking about the series

At first when first looking at the photograph Flicks night club 2004 in the course notes before reading the text that explained that the photographs were taken at police training grounds. Set up to play out and practice for emergencies. Before knowing this the image looked quite creepy almost ghost town like and couldn’t understand what was going on the scene almost looked like a set from the tv. Once I read about the images being taken in a police training ground it then made more sense what was going on.Looking at more images in the series it is now obvious these photographs were not taken on real streets as it does have an element of “falseness” to the set up of the streets.

Pickering’s images are quite misleading at first when you do not know the context of the photograph where it was taken and why. Once this is revealed it is not so misleading and the images become more clear. But I think there is an element of documentary photography there obviously but its not very clear of whats happened or been going on. I cant help but think maybe the photographs would become much more interesting and more documentary if she had taken the photographs with the police practicing the riots and what ever they do in the training grounds. This is not to say what she has done is wrong her work still makes me question what has happened, what were they practicing for.  


Exercise: Street photography

For this exercise I was asked to go out and shoot 30 black and white images and 30 colour images in a street photography style. After researching vario us street photographers I had a feel for how I wanted to approach the subject. I also had visions of how i wanted the final images to look in colour and black and white with the analogue grain effect look.

I shall start posting my colour images first.

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black and white set

1bw 2bw 3bw 4bw 5bw 6bw 7bw 8bw 9bw 10bw 11bw 12bw 13bw 14bw 15bw 16bw 17bw 18bw 19bw 20bw 21bw 22bw 23bw 24bw 25bw 26bw 27bw 28bw 29bw 30bw

When first stating this exercise I put off the photo taking for around about a week or 2 as I was nervous about hitting the streets so I decided that I would ease myself into the street photography thing by going in to town early on a Sunday morning. This was great as I was able to walk around at ease taking photographs and I even got to get a few snaps of people in them as well. When first looking at the photographs when I got back I thought they looked a bit boring but once I had started to edit them they came to life. My editing approach this time round was to avoid filters as I had previously used them in the TAOP and didn’t go down well with my tutor so this time round I have avoided them and have done the editing with the adjustments settings in Photoshop.

There is quite a difference that the two formats make on the photographs. I guess its all down again to personal preference. I really like the grittiness of black and white but colour is also an interesting approach as well especially when the main focus of a photograph is colour or colours if converted to black and white this would just get lost. I think colour has an element of fun to it and can help express certain emotions along with adding different elements to the photo. Black and white is good for getting emotion across to like loneliness and depression for example.

I like both sets as i think they work in different ways , but i guess that does not answer the question which set do you prefer and why? I think I would steer towards the black and white set just because I like the mood and feel it creates, but that is not to say I do not like the colour set I can appreciate both formats and the ways they work. I don’t think that there is a right or wrong here its all down to personal choice.


Project 4- The gallery wall- documentary as art- research point

Research Point

Paul Seawright- Sectarian murders

Sectarian murders is a series of photographs taken by Paul Seawright, he revisited the site where the sectarian murders had taken place in the 1970’s not far from where Seawright had grown up.

Dandy Street.jpg

Paul Seawright- Sectarian murders


Fri 25th May 1973 Seawright.jpg

Paul Seawright- Sectarian murders



Paul Seawright- Sectarian murders



Man in Bushes.jpg

Paul Seawright- Sectarian murders



Paul Seawright- Sectarian murders



Paul Seawright- Sectarian murders



Seawright talks about his work here.

In the video he talks about how he gets criticized for not being direct enough or explicit, He goes on to make a good point about trying to get a god balance, if its too explicit it becomes journalistic and if its too ambiguous it becomes unclear and confusing to the viewer. The holy grail in Seawrights eyes is to get work that engages and draw the viewer in and reveal itself and give meaning slowly. Seawright also believes that good art does this. Once context is revealed along with where the photographs have been made his work has a rich flow with different ideas.

Seawrights main argument is about photographs and how they are viewed, He believes that the exciting thing about art is the way that people choose to engage with it it, and that the meaning is not done by himself its done by the viewer. I think this is an excellent point and thought about this the other day when I was watching an episode of capture when photographer platon was talking about how he could take a photograph and it mean something to him it might not come across that way when someone else looks at it. By Seawright adding text under his work I think this helps to give the viewer food for thought and then goes on to see what Seawright wants them to see.

If we define a piece of documentary photography as art, does this change the meaning?

I think this is a tough one as I think it could all depend on the viewer looking at the photograph as one person could see one thing and someone else could see another but this could happen if the documentary photo was not seen as art. Also the meaning might not change to the photographer or if the meaning is stated and made obvious then maybe it wouldn’t change I guess it all depends or circumstances and the type of viewer.