Preparing for Contrasts

As part of the assignment it was suggested notes should be taken on your thoughts and intentions. I found this quite difficult to do at the time as it broke the flow of thinking. Which I think in some ways was the point. Opening up and slowing the process. So as I failed at the time I will try to make notes from memory. Which is not the same thing but may still be useful.

Straight/Curved:

This image came quite clearly to me. I wanted to reinforce and repeat the elements using shadows. It took a little while to position lights to create the shadows that worked best for the image.

Sharp/Blunt:

This should have been pointed/blunt but I lost track of this and pointed became sharp. Pointed stick images became the point of a knife and then a blade.  Initially I tried to take photographs of the blade on a blank background. It lacked a sense of sharp. Moved towards cutting something. And felt frustrated with this. Talked about this and worked on some ideas with my partner. Experimented with these ideas and then worked around them. Positioning the setup in various relationships to the light. Including and not including finger details. Picked this picture for the reflection/shadow/depth of focus/fingers. I think the fingers holding the blade bring an empathy into the holder’s relationship with the razor. The top of the blade also catches the light well, adding to the feeling of sharpness. Blunt then developed out of the sharp photo, the demonstration of the blade on object. I returned it to the blank setting. The two elements contrast each other warm/cold, solid/soft, etc.

Rounded/Diagonal:

Rounded worked out the easier of the two. A small detail of a table. Isolated. Light/Focus. It took time to position lights without too much glare on bits of the rounded element. Also the space beneath the table. I didn’t want it to disappear into complete darkness. A flat black. Diagonals I started with other ideas. Some were too complex. They became a jumble. I had tried to take pictures of the stairs before. They seemed obvious for this part of the assignment. They didn’t work out I couldn’t get they elements I wanted to. Later I tried again and then the shots came more easily. The diagonals seemed more obvious and gave a stronger image.

High/Low:

High was another picture retaken at a different, better time. The shadows add interest and direction. The yellow lines add another direction less obvious. Low involved various positions of the feet in the frame. Some with more or less ground. With different depths of focus. I was happy that the two images mirror each other in some ways. The dominance of greys with traces of yellows. A similar palette?

Hard/Soft:

I started with the idea of rock isolated against the blank background. It took a number of rocks. Some were too rounded etc etc. Ridges and sharp edges seemed important to the idea of hardness. The object in soft was also my initial idea. It involved various lighting positions and times of day etc. various swirls within the fabric.

Many/Few:

I was drawn to these trees in many wanders.  It was early and the light was quite low. I took various photos trying to isolate them from their surroundings. Unfortunately it wasn’t a Polish forest and they were surrounded by London life, which I wanted to remove and diminish. They become almost a solid mass of lines and dappled shadows. In few I wanted to echo the first picture, use the same subject. I tried various framings of the trees. Again I wanted to cut out most of the surroundings. I also wanted to include the broken patches of grass as they reinforce the “poverty” of few. The trees are also reduced to simple sticks in the landscape. Again the “poverty”/the reduction of few.

Light/Heavy:

A feather is an obvious choice for light, but it was difficult to catch the lightness of the feather. The lighting and shadows help suggest this. It gives some distance from the background. It’s almost the shadows that show the feather. Without a strong shadow the feather could be lost against the background and it adds a further point of interest to the picture. Heavy is dark and large compared to the feather. I wanted it to over fill the frame. I worked with my partner on the picture trying to model the image I wanted. It was difficult to convey the positions I wanted to be in the image, trying to even think how to explain the physical situation I wanted demonstrated. Through this work we built up certain gestures to convey the weight and I modelled for the image using the timer.

Light/Dark:

I started thinking about the images as two of the same shots but with contrasting lights. The dark picture remained from these ideas. I wanted to mirror this with a light interior but wasn’t so happy with it. It didn’t demonstrate the light enough. The dark picture isn’t that dark. The % is mostly light/whites, but the darkness of the small space dominates. It contains a little menace and questions. What is waiting in the darkness? Nothing? We complete the picture behind the door, the room in darkness. The low angle adds to this feeling, these questions. The light switch is almost too close to the darkness. That it will disappear as the darkness flows out of the room. Or as we reach to turn on the switch something will reach out of the black. Or the light can be turned on and the darkness and fears will vanish. Light seems more relaxed the light is warm and low. Summer evening or morning. Light/Dark, these words have weights to them, associations, history and experiences.

Opaque/Transparent:

I started with ideas based around blocks allowing light to pass through or blocking it. I experimented with various lighting set ups. I imagined light flowing around the black square. However the resources/lights I have or limited techniques ment I couldn’t make it work as I wanted. Or prehaps the idea was flawed. It didn’t demonstrate the effect I wanted. I still liked the idea of the black shape and moved on to ideas of it obscuring a familiar object. In this case a person. Various setups were tried and various looks. Transparent seemed easier in this way. However I had to try various lighting positions to show both the transparent object and the face. It seemed that either the face or the cloth was too bright. Or the face became too dominant, the cloth lost. In the end I concentrated on the cloth, the transparent, and place the face further back in the image, making the face vague and slightly obscured. The cloth pattern gives more form to the cloth, the transparent object.

Not sure all these thoughts occurred while the pictures were taken or are after thoughts, but thinking about them in this way brings up thoughts and ideas about images. Ideas to explore.

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Filed under June 2011, Thoughts

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