I finally finished the first exercise in part 2, I have to confess it took me longer than I would have liked firstly due to technical difficulties running out of toner in the laserjet so I could not read the paper properly then I had to read the article several times before it really sunk in what it was saying.
Once I sat dowanand really applied myself to the source material the meaning gave itself up to me and I was able to do the task set, which was to select two images not mentioned in the text and evaluate them with reference to the points made by Snyder in the text.
In the end it came down to the two types of Landscape Photography Snyder describes as Invitational and contra-invitational, and relates to the purpose and intention of the image, in the Invitational images created by Watkins the images are pleasing freandly and inviting and make you want to visit, where the images by O’Sullivan are hostile and surreal and are far less inviting, the former driven by a business need to encourage development of the land and the latter by a more scientific need to document the landscape.
Today the TV group held a bookmaking workshop led by the OCA Tutor Polly Harvey. It was a really fun day of bookmaking where we were taught to create 4 book styles, a simple folded board book, a sewn single signature book, a Japanese binding book and a french pleat book.
It was a very informative day which left us taking home 4 finished projects, I tried to take a few images with my phone but it was such a busy workshop I soon fell behind here are a couple of the early ones and some of the finished projects once I got home:
Having had my tutor feedback and the report I was keen to wrap up Assignment one while I was still resonating with it, and before moving on to the next part. Russell said I should not redo the work but experiment and stretch it further, I have commented elsewhere how I liked this approach and how it made me feel like I was pushing myself and developing my practice rather than redoing something I got wrong, this was a much more healthy and developmental approach for me.
The area we agreed I would explore was making a set of Diptychs again but this time exploring pairing the birdseye views and cropping and rotating and flipping to make the image work in context. I went with a square format for the crops and tried to match each one so that they resonate with each other compositionally. I initially put them on a border because I misheard Russell thinking he said the ones I did before were good (I did not like them) however, this was not the case so the final images have plain white borders. I also could not make the fourth set work together and although I love the images alone in the initial set they did not work as a Diptych, so I found two new images from the Sewerage plant visit and used them imitating a domino effect, and am much happier with the final result.
In a really quick turn around Russell booked a Hangout with me this evening and we spent a couple of hours discussing my work the degree and photography, it was a really helpful session and you can see the full feedback in the assignment section.
There were some opertunitiesto extend the work which for the first time in my degree felt like a discussion on pushing the work to further heights rather than, “I dont like that do it differently”, this felt much more educational and far more of a development of my practice than before, if I analyse it being told your work is wonderful leave it just as it as you have it, is nice but does not streach you as an artist or photographer, also being told “I really don’t think that is any good do something else” tends to dampen the enthusiasm, I felt Russell hit this ballance right on the fulcrum, he made me feel that he liked what I had done and that it was well developed, we discussed the project and he told me that he really liked the work I had done playing with Diptychs and that he felt I could push this further in an experimental way of moving the assignment beyond its current resting place.
I loved this discourse and the fact I am not fighting degree deadlines any moreand so I can take the time to push my work further. I will be experimenting with the ideas that came out of the session and looking at the Diptychs again.
To clarify what may read as an odd comment from the tutor report, Russell commented that I needed to look at colour balance in two of the images and mentioned “we discussed what caused this which is quite peculiar”.
The cause is indeed quite peculiar and is unique to the current revision of DJI go and the Phantom 4 Pro, when you take an image with the camera gimble pointing directly down there is a bug that throws out the colour balance making everything have a orang/brown colour tint. The cure is to clear the video cache and reboot the drone and controller, none of which makes much sense when compaired to a conventional camera but is “a thing” with the complex interplay between hardware and software in a sophisticated drone like a Phanto 4 Pro.
I await a software patch that will cure this, but in the mean time I have a work around for the problem, it was fairly simple to correct the slight blue tint I had added correcting the images and this was the corrected result:
I finally finished the first leg of A1 Beauty and the Sublime, I have handed it in metaphorically, i.e. I sent Russell an email to notify him it was ready for a Tutor assessment, and I am looking forward to seeing what he thinks of it. I am also looking forward to my first of the new video conference feedback sessions which I am told are very productive indeed. I am partly expecting that Russell will want me to trim back from 12 to 9 images, we shall see, I found it hard to do that as I am too invested in them. I have already exiled one of my favourite images because It was too similar to others that worked better. I may be wrong we shall see I should not try to second guess Russell. I am much more willing and open to change on this assignment as I would like it to be a learning exercise that sets me up for the rest of the module.
After several hours more of editing, the trimingrejecting and in some cases re establishment of images I have finaly arrived at a set of images that I am happy to submit to Russell for his tutor assessment. I have already pre warned him its comming and now I have all the images and am tidying up the entries on the blog site I will email him early next week to submit the work for scrutiny. I am quite prepared for rework based on his ideas and comments as so far Russell has only given me very sage advice.
Today I took the last images for A1, having been really cheeky on Tuesday and walked into the site office of the local sewage works to ask if I could photograph it with a drone, I was really surprised how kind the site manager was, he told me that I could come back on Sunday morning and they would leave the front gate open so I could take my images when they had no contractors on site. I arrived promptly at 9 am as arranged to find the gates open and the car park empty. I set up my drone and took some wonderful images of the plant.
As it was Sunday I also managed to capture the trains parked in the Farnham siding from a deserted carpark in a nearby industrial estate.
After looking through the images I had a further 3 images to add to my first edit, which took me to 15 candidates, I did not really want to use more than 12 and had a hard time rejecting images that I had become far too attached to. I have been really attached to the first image I took above my house as it was the one that made me discover the vertigo effect, but sadly there were stronger candidates and I was rather overflowing with housing estate images.
I started being quite tough and ended up with 10 images, which is not a very aesthetically pleasing number in a WordPress gallery, so I tried to reject another which proved impossible as I would be rejecting images I really liked, my only solution was to bring it back to 12 which was not difficult. I am on the upper limit for the submission but am happy that it will stand up to a tutor assessment, no doubt he will prick my conscience and the final submission will change again.
I should put a lid on the Diptych work too, I did a lot of tests only a few made it to the blog, but no matter how I manipulated the work it did not resonate at all with me. I really feel that this work needs to be focused on my interpretation of the sublime and explore the relationship between that uneasy feeling we get particularly with vertigo and the pain/pleasure boundary that is alluded to by Burke. The addition of the beautiful images did not enhance or underline this for me in many ways it distracted from the work I am trying to do. Also in many cases, the more conventional aerial view simply was not beautiful, which would have limited the work I could include. In fact, many of the images I consider to me most powerful did not really have a beautiful counterpart of angle, and many of the beautiful images looked rubbish from above, the churches were the most remarkable of these.
I have therefore decided to limit myself to “birdseye views” in order to try to demonstrate the sublime in my landscape images.
I thought it would be useful and more complete to show the body of work that led up to my A1 submission. I went through a lot of work before centring on my ideas and this is just a sample of the things I tried that did not make it into the first edit you can click on an image to see a larger version and view the whole set in a navigation window:
Further to an email exchange with Russell where I proposed using diptychs he suggested experimenting with my images to see if they work, he also wondered if 50/50 diptychs would be effective.
I have been playing today with these ideas with mixed results:
I am not sure how I feel about them yet, some images work while others don’t and it feels like it may be difficult to make a consistent set for the assignment, I do like the last one but its more a curiosity than a serious balance of the beauty and the sublime. In many ways its more like a set from a Stephen Strange movie but I will continue to contemplate and experiment, I have one more shoot lined up where I have permission to film an industrial site which is exciting.
I have been up to Farnham park several times to fly the Phantom, it is nice because there is space and its just outside the controlled airspace for Odiham and Farnborough airports, the park is a council-owned park and has no restrictions on flying drones so it makes a good Takeoff and Landing site.
Last time I went there I took some images of the Castle, which are quite beautiful, I did this before I discovered the “Birdseye View so this morning I got there really early before any people were on the scene and made a very short flight to capture the following Image: