Now that my course at the college of west Anglia is done, I’m getting ready to start the next chapter in my education. That said I’m going to group all of this work together under a single tag (cowa2013) freeing up this space for basically what ever project, experiments or photographic shenanigans are currently filling my time! .. obviously at the moment the blog is geared towards my btec final major project so there will be some changes to the lay out as well as the content.
I think this is as good a time as any to post a closing note to the last two years. Taking the jump back into education after a few years out in the big bad world, i must admit was a little nerve racking. But with the support of family, my amazing girlfriend and the new friends i made along the way i survived. I went into the course not looking for a qualification exactly, I was more hoping to find confidence in my work and my skills as a photographer.
Having a pretty strong support network of guys and girls there every day just to bounce ideas around with, helped me to create my best work by far and i cant wait to see what university will inspire me to do.
Now before this turns entirely into a love letter to btec and my former class mates, ill call it a day but to every one that was there! thanks for a great time 🙂
My initial idea to work with the theme of noir really excited me, meaning all my research and planning was more of an indulgence of a passion rather than a chore, in fact this evaluation was the only thing I’d been putting off. I looked briefly at more contemporary source material such as the frank
miller sin city graphic novels where the key features of noir have been caricatured and stretched to extremes with every image a set of solid block colors creating a world of shadows and flashes of blood red and films such as blade runner where the ideals of a strong anti-hero has been catapulted into the future, while keeping the media conventions of the genre such as the lights shining in through slightly open blinds casting a shadow on a man’s face and the steam filled streets as a male figure walks into the distance
As writhe with inspiration as these modern sources are I wanted to focus on the classical noir spirit, the cinematography of 40’s and 50’s became a large part of that for me.
I tried to reinforce my early ideas by looking at photographers that create large-scale almost cinematographic images be they staged or captured as they happen in the real world, o winston link and Gregory Crewdson stick out in my mind as two particular examples of this.
Crewdson’s work happens mostly behind the scenes spending hours and hours preparing a location like it was a film set, using masses of lights and models to create amazingly detailed stills that would not look out-of-place on a Hollywood movie lot.
O winston link’s work achieves a similar level of detail but his work captures split seconds in real-time, using large flash set ups and experiments with shutter speeds he managed to capture beauty unseen at the time.
[Left. an image of the lighting kits used by link, Right. a personal Favourite of his work entitled “hotshot east bound”]
I at this point had a pretty solid idea of how i wanted my work to look, so i had three big challenges to get passed, first being lighting get the right intensity of light on location with limited equipment would be difficult.
Secondly finding a location i knew i wanted to hold on to the 1940’s / 1950’s theme which living in a mainly 18th century built town with a modern town centre would never be easy,
The third and final challenge would be models creating images using real modern-day people and finding ways to recrate the fashions and feeling of a different era on a tight budget meant I would have to start begging for help as soon as possible.
Thankfully I had a little experience thanks to a past project I had done with a similar theme
after a few more experiments I was pretty confident in how I was going to light my work I just needed locations,
My first location was recommended to me by a class mate a local garage has a few older cars that would fit my work perfectly.
So I wasted no time in going to talk to the owners and thankfully they agreed to me shooting there at an agreed time with in the next few weeks, it was now that I began looking for models as well as more locations.
I had initially planed to used older looking small landmarks like lamp posts and keep the images tight using a 50mm lens meaning there would be no chance of modern details slipping in with out my notice, but then as I was on the search for new models I found the perfect location.
Wolverton station is located no more than 20 minuets from my home and was once the official train station of the royal family, now privately owned and no longer in use.
when I first visited the station i knew it was perfect it has been restored to when it was in its last in use in the 1940’s, meaning the architecture is exactly what i was looking for.
with the abundance of smaller locations with-in the station I felt I had more than enough opportunities to successfully complete my assignment so I begun searching for models, using the best tool at my disposal to address a large number of people simultaneously Facebook
Thank fully with in my personal Facebook friends and the followers on my professional page i have a few people who are heavily interested in retro fashions so finding models wasn’t too much trouble.
all my models showed up and with the exception of a portable light refusing to trigger and a lot of corn flies we had no difficulties.
The post edit stage came and went very quickly, I think as I was shooting I had Favourite images and the same ones seamed to jump out at me while I was selecting my final images.
i tried to focus on images that felt like part of a story, as though the images where a still from a film or part of a family album.
this brings me neatly to my display it was suggested to that I set my work out as though it was a section of a home, again trying to mirror that real life snapshot of time i loved so much from the work of o winston link, and keeping the now ageing noir genera almost as though this could be the living room of a now ageing fem-fatal from one of the movies that have inspired me so much.
After talking about differing ways to display my work another student on the course (James check him out here http://jempeas.com/ ) suggested that I dress my wall space like a living room, from this idea we discussed ways to create the sort of space I wanted.
I set to planning and gathering materials using frames sourced from charity shops I created a mismatch of colours and sizes, the wallpaper and paint were kindly donated by my parents. (Sadly the wallpaper donated was not quite enough meaning I had to purchase more)
so as to include my logo without forcing the contempary design on my classily teamed display I created stickers to give away to the public.
sadly on opening day gravity got the better of one of my frames, thankfully a local glass cutters replaced it at a very reasonable price, I patched up the paint work using a hair dryer to dry it nice and fast then replaced the frame using a more sturdy method.
Brassaï (pseudonym of Gyula Halász) was a Hungarian photographer, sculptor, and filmmaker who rose to international fame in France in the 20th century. He was one of the numerous Hungarian artists who flourished in Paris beginning between the World Wars. (sorce wiki)
his work catures paris at night and has a beautiful depth to it, using the light given at the sceen and longer exposures, creating ethereal images with a dream like quality. his work seams to beautifuly capture a moment in time somthing i hope to acheve in my work.
email confirming student finance application.
One of my biggest aspirations is to re-brand my photography business to make it more contemporary, when i first started my website and designed by business cards it was my intention to reach as wide an audience as possible in the hopes of getting as much paid work as possible now that I’ve gained experience I want to narrow my target audience to the sort of work I feel I’m best suited for.
first business cards i had made from before i started at cowa.
image of my original website.
design for my new logo to be used for watermarking and websites etc.
Mock up of my new website.
early design for my new business card
Paper work from the Norwich university college of the arts open day 2012, loved the campus and facilities but sadly the course was mainly fashion based and thus not for me.
Screen shots from the Leeds college of art website and emails I received.
Paper work from the Anglia Ruskin/Cambridge school of art open day.
email from fake cloathing, thinking me work i did to help them build a libary of images for a new website.
after working on an a1 portfolio i decided that it was far to big and clumsy so rather late on i reduced the size to a3,
i feel the images are alot nicer at this size and it can be held in the hands of the viewer
Using the site http://www.milkbooks.com/moleskine/ i made a photo book sit along side my portfolio.
CV made on word, mainly retail based currently but my next step will be to begin applying for voluntary work to gain industry experience.
My personal statement taken from the ucas site.
My tutor asked me to give a talk to the first year btec photography students, showing my portfolio and explaining how I had progressed through the 2 years of the course and through the university application process. I tried to advice the younger students to begin working on their portfolios as soon as possible putting a favourite print to one side from each project saving the hassle and expense of reprinting everything at the end of the year to prepare for interviews, the other advice I tried to stress was to look into universities as soon as possible as I struggled with my choices. This talk was witnessed by the year one btec class 2013 and E. Paxton.
during final major i have had a few opportunity to be involved in group crit sessions, this has given me the opportunity to get opinions on my ideas from a mass of people all at once.
Invitation for an interview at Anglia Ruskin.
Ucas screen shot showing my conditional offer to Anglia Ruskin.
I mainly looked for character in my images, images that felt like they were part of a story so the viewer could try to imagine what was happening or what would happen next.
Here are some screen shots of the process I undertook for each of my final images, 1.image right out of camera 2. Adjust levels increasing the intensity of shadows 3. White frame to create an old hand printed feel 4. A layer of sold colour at a very low opacity to create the sepia effect (i chose to do this less for creative reasons more for practical ones, all the frames I seemed to be finding with-in my budget were dark wood making the black and white images appear to be very cold in tone the sepia warms them just enough to negate this effect).
I will undertake the same process with all my images opening them simultaneously to make sure the tone of each sits well together.