As the blog started with a “Welcome” I am guessing it should finish with a Goodbye. This is the last post for the “Photography 1: People and Place” course’s blog. The purpose of this post is to reflect over the past two years, how much I learnt and how much my photography has improved.
After advice from my tutor there were improvements in the submission of the coursework. Few of the things improved are: white frames on the images (how to do this on photoshop etc), check the display calibration to avoid dark prints, check sharpness for print, choose matt and not glossy paper (as the glossy leaves fingerprints), use of cd case when submitted with a cover printed on paper, avoid the use of adhesive labels on the cd as this can damage the CD disk on the computer. Avoid to use staples for documents and use plastic/transparency folders instead. When submitting and assignment not to use hard envelop but sent it with amazon or photobox boxes-type instead.
I took this course as a kind of personal challenge. Before this it was really hard for me to convince people/ friends to pose for me. All started around 2 years ago when I took photos of some of the girls of the Notting hill carnival. I really enjoyed that result and decided to go for the People and Place course one which I was thinking to avoid when I started as a student in the OCA aiming for a BA. Finally, I registered for it and I am more than happy that I did so. The main part of photographing people was working with models. In order to achieve that I start putting castings on model- photographer websites. I started with Starnow.co.uk then used Model Mayhem and more recently PureplePort. I felt that during the last two years many things changed. When I started it was more popular in UK, MM but now there is more activity by UK based models/ Photographers in PP. I also noticed since I relocate in the North (hope not for long more) that models are different here and to be totally honest I enjoyed more working with models in the South. During these past years, I developed the Photographer- Model relationship and I hope that I also develop the portraits I am taking technically, both in composition and in the post production (not extreme plastic look on models though as this not what I want to do, I am more a fan of natural looking models, just removal of spots and some lines in the eyes sometimes if they look really bad). I used to have most of the recent photos in my facebook page but for many reasons at the moment (as on 13-10-2013) I unpublish my facebook page and deactivate my account (I do not know if this temporary or permanent). Also photos of most of the shooting except the most recent ones are in this blog. You can see some of the photos in my portfolio and also in my purpleport portfolio at http://purpleport.com/portfolio/argyrios/
I understand working with models how interesting and rewarding is to photograph people. Some nice moments during the shooting, more nice moments in editing. Of course I did not like all the models I worked with, I tried though and I hope that I achieved it, not to show any negative feelings. That makes me feel that photography is not only about photographic objects or landscapes usually with trying to avoid people on them (most of my photography until this course was like that). Now I believe there should be a balance between people and objects/ Fine Art photography.
This course more than the previous two helped me to develop further my communication skills, which will help me not only in my photography but also in other aspects of my life. This happen not only when I was working with models, but also when I had to ask permission to photograph places or to ask information for events etc.
I also learnt from this course that photographic people without asking them can result in some interesting photos. I understand the effect of having one figure/ person (small or dominant in the photo), many people, people unrecognised etc. How we can use the element of a person to improve and give a character or a tell different story in an landscape photo. Also how the activity of a person or a group of people can be an interesting subject (eg. sense of place - Blackpool photos).
I enjoyed also photographic places. I do not think that it has to do only with the photos, but also with the feeling that I can have access in places where under different conditions I would not allowed to take photos (eg. Waterloo Station London). Also I liked taking photos in museums/ galleries (eg. Saatci Gallery). The interaction between people and the objects in the gallery/ museum can give some interesting results. There, we have to notice possible shapes or colours in the cloths of the people and if this can be combined with elements of the works of arts etc.
Theatrical/ Nightclub Photography
I really enjoyed researching for Theatrical Photography. As I mentioned in relevant assignment people let me down. I really hope that I will have the opportunity in the future to explore this genre of photography. I also tried Nightclub photography, although some nice photos came out of it, I understand that this is not a genre for me. That was clear to me before trying it, but it worth to give it a go and confirm it.
Before researching for events I was always thinking how photographer found about events to photograph and I was thinking that it might be hard etc but I never actually did my research. It is amazing how many information you can find in the websites of each town. I do not know if it was that time of the year but I noticed when I was doing my research 2-3 months ago that many things were happening. In the future, I will have that in mind. At the moment I am not considering mainly due to the fact I am still unemployed so I cannot afford travelling. Another photographic challenge I was thinking was the possibility to publish any photos in a newspaper/ magazine. This should not be fine art but photojournalism/ covering events. I tried to sent CV and e-mail to local newspaper but never heard back. When I have seen somebody posting in facebook about demotix I decide to join there. It is better than nothing and there is a small possibility that at some point some of the photos to be published. You can see my profile there at http://www.demotix.com/users/argyrios-georgiadis/profile.
Social Documentary VS Paparazzi
In social documentary I am feeling sometimes a little nervous as I do not like the idea of “stilling” somebody’s photo. I do not like in general when this happens from paparazzi and making the life of famous people difficult (when they do not themselves “fake” the paparazzi photos). My thought and the reason I put this paragraph is that Ignoring the famous factor some paparazzi and social documentary photos can be similar. The main difference between the two is that in Paparazzi photos the important factor is the person whereas in the social documentary it is the depiction of the action by a person. I also think that the social documentary photos will have more importance in the future than today. I noticed that when looking photos from the past when everyday moments of the past becoming interesting for next generation whose life is totally different.
Collections of Photos I like
I also want to put here links to collections of photos I like in few websites (photos by other photographers):
I really hope to find a job soon, so I can go to 2nd academic year courses. Everything depends on the job hunting. If I cannot find a job soon I have to go back to greece to do my military service. This will affect my studies here but will see (I will post the link for the blog for the new course when this will happen).
I was not feeling creative for a long time but since I found lensculture website few days ago I start feeling more creative (it helped spending few hours looking nice photos there :)). I was looking for a long time for a website like that. I really like also that I can collect photos I like there. As I mentioned I deactivate my facebook page few days ago and decided to make a personal blog. I do not know how this will evolve but I hope that it will be my main photography website (this was my facebook page for the past 2 or more years). The link to the blog is http://argyriosphotography.blogspot.co.uk/.
There you can also see a list of the models I have worked with and also selective references they left for our collaboration.
As this is an End, I wanted to put a photo I took couple of days ago in this post, I do not know how this will evolve but I hope that it will be a new personal project.
Two final things. One of the most important things I learned in this course is the importance of Research in photography. The final thing I want to say is a Big Thanks to my tutor John Todd for all the support and help over the past 2 years.
Appendix A (early October)
For a long time I was having in my mind the idea of composing in an image a photo and a box with text. While, I was reading the “Behind the Image” book, I have seen a photo by Martha Rosler, and understand the need to research further the work done by other photographers/ artists where an image is combined by text. I start google search combining “text photos” or something like that and I found the following link which is really useful,
I really like the following part of it
“Placing words and images in the same perceptual space is not as easy as it looks. The artist has to keep track of four phenomena, not just the apparent two. First, the words have accepted, coded meanings and contexts that affect what we see in the adjacent images. Second, the words invoke mental images that might also conflict with what we see. Third, images have meanings and contexts that may alter our engagement with the adjacent words. Fourth, images can call up words in the mind of the viewer. The coordination of image/word/word/image is not easy, but the more difficult it is, the more possibilities present themselves for qualifying or clarifying the larger world”
I think that when we combine text with image we somehow give a different life in the image. It is more conceptual and can also be personal expressive and make people see things more the way they want them to see.
Going back to the link I decided to check each of the photographers.
This link give us information about the subject of her work, however the images in the photo are really small so we cannot really see the photos or the text.
In this link we can see the photos and the text however without the previous link we cannot understand the subject of the series. Looking to these photos, is really close to what I have in my mind. Especially the last one, most of the white area on the left is empty, just 4 simple words but they motivate us to think a lot. Also the choice of black and white strengthens the subject. In general I believe the black and white take us far from reality and help us to look the subject from a distance or somehow give it a different importance.
When I was checking this more recently the first link was not valid so you can check the following
Also I found the following two connected to the text in images
(the photos with the birds and the text is an interesting one)
In this one, the image is a “canvas” for the text
Initial thoughts to take photos in Guildford. Visited Guildford Museum for ideas but finally understand that as I spent the past 5 years in Guildford and have taken a lot of photos there, although I know it well, I was not inspired to take more photos.
Had some thoughts for specific areas in London (eg. China Town or Camden Town) but again did not work. Visited Farnham consider it a possibility.
October 2012 to Early January 2013
Feeling the pressure and the stress of the job hunting, did not allow me to be creative. Also thought as I am about to relocate it will be nice to use my new town as a the place for this Assignment and also I thought at that time that this will be a good opportunity to “meet” the new town.
Finally I end up with a new job in Blackburn. Lost few weeks due to relocation. Walking in the town I understood that this is not a place I want to photograph. The town is really depressing. I understand at that point that I have to look for another town. Manchester is too close, but I preferred to go for a smaller and more quite place.
Visited Lytham (photo 1101), a nice small town. However I thought that cannot give the photos I wanted for this project.
Few weeks later visited Lancaster. A nice town, spent a couple of hours trying to photograph people in the local market. What it really impressed me was how people interact with the camera. They noticed it and stop and comment, thing which did not happen so often in the south, where most of the times people ignore you when you carry a camera. Took around 80 snaps there, my favourite one is 1689. It is a shame that this is not taken in Blackpool I think it would be great for this Assignment. To take these photos, I used a tripod, frame and looking to different directions and take the photos with a remote control, so make the people think that I am not actually taking the photo, the moment I took it.
This was my first visit to Blackpool. I have just heard about it on TV in the program “999, what is your emergency”. So the image I have in my mind is that it is a kind of “dangerous” place. This was before having any idea that I will found a job in the North, so I never expect to visit it.
While walking to work I am usually listening BBC Radio Lancashire. There local people from Blackpool saying that their town is not as it appear in TV. In general I like sea so I decided to try to visit it. I really liked the character of the town and decided that this will be the place for this Assignment. I sent an e-mail with a couple of images to the tutor and share my thoughts. My initial plan was to show the “sadness” and the old glory of the town reflective on the buildings without showing so much interaction with the people. My tutor advice me (correctly) that I have to show more how the people interact with the buildings and places. I think I need to go back to Blackpool in the future and take the photos I thought initially as a personal project, possibly in black and white.
Some photos of the first visit are attached.
I really liked the comic carpet and how the people interact with it by stopping and reading it. (photo 1750 and 1752). Some other locations/ ideas I noticed in the 1st visit are in the photos 1759 (possibly show people walking/ cycling there), 1760 (really like this as an image as I think it has a lot of emotions but seems like it does not fit for this Assignment) and 1762 (like the ideas of the illumination lights and the tram lines on the left and the pleasure park on the back as they are characteristics of the town). It is important to say that in this visit the tide was high and I thought that as the concrete walking area shown in photo 1759 looks new to me that this has replaced the sand beaches. I was wrong as there is a tide which I did not know. The tutor mentioned that in his response.
In this second visit my train to Blackpool north had around 30-40 minutes delay. So I decided to take the train to Blackpool South station. I stopped to the Blackpool Pleasure Beach station and walk back until the Blackpool Tower to have a feeling of the town. On my way back, I have seen two guys fishing (1986). I like the contrast of the label which saying “Keep Out” and the guys being inside and fishing. I did not feel really comfortable to take the photo without asking them and that why it is not so good composition.
After that I have seen some guys cycling. I snap few photos. In which I also tried to include the Blackpool Tower, which is one of the landmarks of the town. Attached are photos 1991-2000. My favourite one is the 1999. I like the composition in its. I think I will keep this as one of the final 6. I just need to crop it. I keep walking and gone back to the comic carpet. Seen some people running there, but not so happy with how the photos came out (an example is photo 2002).
Later I gone to the visitor information centre as in my first visit (was Sunday) it was closed. I took a magazine about Blackpool and asked them for good places (explain a little the project). They proposed the Winter Gardens, the ballroom in the Blackpool Tower and also mentioned Blackpool Tower as an important landmark. The guy says “Paris has Eiffel Tower and we have Blackpool Tower”.
I have visited the Winter Gardens but there were not so many people there or something interesting. Visited also Blackpool Dungeon, asked them if I can take photos of the actors, but the manager sent me an e-mail later and told me that this is not possible. Been in the ballroom in the Tower. I really like there how free the people feel. Take some photos (around 30 snaps) attached are 3. Tried to change composition, also gone in the two different levels. Find the good position, but I understand that I need to come back with my 35 mm lens and also with Tripod (2019,2029,2032).
I keep walking and noticed an outdoor musician. If I want to take photos of artist like him I usually drop some coins to them and they pose. I do not need to ask. It is a kind of “silent agreement”. Took three photo of him (2038-2040). The last one is my favourite. This will be the second photo I will submit. Photo 2041 is another possibility (people eating). For me seaside towns in UK are connected with Fish and Chips shops. Photo 2042 is another. I like the implied line of the green sitting places and we have the couple walking their dogs.
As in both the previous trips the tide was high, I start checking online what is tide etc. Find out that there are several places online where you can check the level of the tide. Understand that it is a periodic phenomenon and that it has highs and lows. Tried to arranged my visit to be when the tide was low. Si first things was to go directly to the beach. Finally !!! I have seen how big and nice is the beach when the tide is low. Most of the beach was empty as still the access was restricted (photo 1989). Decided to risk it, but be really careful and not stay long. The idea was to take some photos with people walking in the empty beach but also try to include part of the piers. I took few photos. Five of them are 2065, 2068, 2072, 2076 and 2075. I am debating between 2-3 of them.
After that gone back to the comic carpet. It was really nice that this time there are some teenager skating there. Spent around 15-20 minutes taking several photos with different composition and trying to catch the moment. The initial thought was to have the building on the back not cropped in the frame. An example of that is photo 2083. My favourites from these series are 2094 and 2095. I just need to crop 2094 if I will go for that one.
After that, gone back to the ballroom. Have this time with me the 35 mm lens and the tripod. The first thought was to find the correct settings. I know that the lighting conditions are not great to take photos, but I think that this would be a great example of people interacting with place. I spent around 30-45 minutes. Try to have a good composition and also wait for the moment the dancing couples to give me a nice patterns.
A sense of Place
For this Assignment a series of photos has to be taken in a well defined place. We need to draw together all the skills learned so far, and also show what buildings and spaces mean for people. This is an assignment for an intelligent thoughtful travel publication and demanding a considered, in depth treatment.
At this point I want to apologize for the few months delay to submit my assignment. However, this happens due to the fact that I was looking for a job and the relocation from Guildford to Blackburn when I found one.
Visited the following galleries since the last Assignment submission (either I was not in the mood to take notes and just visited them for the sake of it, or when I kept they have been lost due to the relocation)
- National Portrait Gallery in London (visited early autumn, some interesting portraits connected to the Olympic games in London)
- Photographers Gallery in London (after refurbishment, early September 2012)
- Towner Contemporary Art Museum in Eastbourne (mid September 2012, I remember that I like the building but not so much the exhibition)
- Watts Gallery (outside Guildford, as a part of my volunteering, mainly features paintings of Victorian artist George Frederic Watts, really like some of his portraits)
- Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston (really like the building and the Art work)
- Manchester Art Gallery (Really like the combination of the old and the new building, like some of the photography they have and the modern art, visited it twice but need to go back again)
- Cornerhouse gallery
Other students work:
Find this in the blog of the week. Seems like a well organised blog, I think his research is well done. Kind of inspiration to do more research.
I have seen also these in the past
(seems well organised but I think the quality of the images is not great)
Not so good organised, but I have to accept that is close to my blog or how the blog was before the tutors suggestions. The photos are not too bad however in one of her submissions there are not people at all which is not what we have to submit in this Assignment. Also, some of the photos she did not submit in the final 6 are stronger than those she submitted (again I remember the same comment from the tutor in my previous assignment)
Again here we do not have so much interaction of the people and place (same of the photos absent of people, also slightly dark photos)
Looking to magazines:
I like reading on flight magazines. I am usually flying with easyjet. Sometimes the way they present their stories or describe destinations it not like a tourist magazine, but give us more insight about the character of the people and the places.
Oct 2012 (p. 74-75, 102)
January 2013 (p. 62-67)
Also the BA magazine, I could not find link to an online edition, an example I found in their website is
(Really like both photos but look like they gone to extreme in the post production of the sky)
I decided to check if I can find something relevant to the books I have. Open the “Genius of Photography” , and found a chapter called “Towards a social landscape”.
First photo in this case is “Southam Street, North Kensigton” by Roger Mayne, google it and find this link http://photomuserh.wordpress.com/2012/05/20/roger-mayne-street-photographer/
The 1st photo is the photo in the book. I think all of them are great examples of people interacting with place (of course in our day there will a possible issue with taking photos of children without permission).
Another interesting photo is the “American Legion Convention” by Garry Winogrand
or here with more of his work
Another one is by Tony Ray Jones “Derby Day”
I think in these cases it is hard to be critical as they are all masters of photography. We can just learn from them.
Furthermore, Chris Killip’s “Craps and People” http://www.phillips.com/auctions/lot-detail/CHRIS-KILLIP/UK040210/38/4/1/12/detail.aspx
The tutor suggests the following:
http://todayspictures.slate.com/resort/ ( i have seen some of the photos of this series in the past, like his work, also like some of his selfportraits)
http://simoncroberts.com/ ( I think I have seen the photos of the piers in a gallery or a book about them. Also seen the “We English” photos in the past, really like the emotions that come from his work, inspiring)
I think both photographers can inspire me to move in this direction, not so much in this project but in general in my photography work. I believe sometimes we can “see” photos like the ones presented in the “last resort” but we are shy to snap them as the object is really close to us. A skill which is not so easy to learn and need a lot of courage to overcome the boundaries that stop us from doing so.
More research follows in Appendix 1 (for a personal project)
- Anna Fox, Natasha Caruana, (2012) “Behind the image”, AVA Publishing
I really like this book as it makes clear to me the importance of research in photography