Topographics

As a task I was askwed to look at Topographics and create images going by the quotes. For this I first used the pamphlet

“New Topographics photography by ROBERT ADAMS, LEWIS BALTZ, JOEL DEAL

ARNOLFINI BRISTOL 1981″ Published for exhibition by Arnolfini Gallery Ltd, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA and Printed by Taylor Brothers (Bristol) LTD

Topographics was started in America by the likes of Robert Franks.

It was first perceived, as the American landscape was an area of metaphors based around the subject on the attitude of society in America.  However, Ansel Adams and Edward Weston originally founded it when it was “based on the notion of eliciting an emotional commitment towards the sublime”.

It came to light in 1975 with a viewing of the work being called New Topographics, which was shown, at George Eastman House. The subject was first greeted with critical thinkers, who believed it had a lack of emotional commitment from the photographers. Although it is seen as the difference from other subjects is that the photographer “is not only not involved in cultural problem solving, but they are refusing to be involved in personal problem solving through their photography either”.

Quotes

Eliot Erwitt
I wasn’t imposing my presence on anyone, which is very important for a would – be journalist. I stayed back. Always let people be themselves- Elliott Erwitt

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When I looked at this quote, this image fitted well with it in my eyes! As here the image shows two different types of personality… a guy stood up straight emphasizing loads of confidence behind his red motorbike. Of which red is a strong, bold colour that emphasizes strength plus stands out from most colours because of this, like in the image. While sat in front of the biker is a guy hidden away under a grey hat and large grey jacket huddled over his phone. As if him, as the person can’t be seen. This shows two different types of personalities in a space of a few steps. However, it does show th3e people being themselves and with the distance away I was stood with my camera. It does act out what the quote says.

Nan Gouldin

“The complete disregard for the camera’s presence indicates its complete saturation in their lives. The subject neither notices nor seems to care that someone has been invited into their private moment.”

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Here a squirrel is eating a bark, while I was close up so to get a good close composition of it. The squirrel though, although usually timid stayed sitting their eating while I took images of it. Linking in with the quote used.

Edward Weston

I would say to any artist: ‘don’t be repressed in your work, dare to experiment, consider any urge, if in a new direction all the better.‘ – Edward Weston  – Ansel Adams

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The image shows a direction down towards the hub and although it doesn’t hold a feature that stands out at the end. I do feel the image works well due to the foreground. This is due to taking the image from a different angle to the usual format of many images seen. I have also managed to capture the image with a cubist affect through the lines on the wall, the stairs and platform plus the orange floor. All of which leads the image into one final angle. This sort of style I’d never captured before, so while it showed you a set way to look while other routes were shown. A new technique is also used like suggested in the quote.

Martin Parr

I go straight in very close to people and I do that because it’s the only way you can get the picture. You go right up to them. Even now, I don’t find it easy. I don’t announce it. I pretend to be focusing elsewhere. If you take someone’s photograph it is very difficult not to look at them just after. But it’s the one thing that gives the game away. I don’t try and hide what I am doing – that would be folly. – Martin Parr – British Journal of Photography Interview, 1989

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In this image I followed the rule that Martin Parr goes by of going in close, this lead me to capture the image of all these people going about their daily lives without many noticing what was happening. This meant that I was able to capture my image and walk away while they carried on with their lives yet the image represents the people through their routine.

Duane Michaels

Trust that little voice in your head that says wouldn’t it be interesting if… “And then do it. –Duane Michaels, More Joy of Photography by Eastman Kodak (Editor)

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When I saw the cathedral I thought it was interesting due to being an ancient artefact remaining through many events. I also found it interesting due to the beauty it holds from the detail and patterns. Yet throughout all of it the part that stood out to me was the repetition of the one wall. This made me wonder what would the cathedral look like as an image, where I focus on capturing its repetition but also holding what it is.

Phillippe Halsman

The immortal photographers will be straightforward photographers, those who do not rely on tricks or special techniques. – Phillippe HalsmanImage

For this image I thought the build had an interesting look and pattern in itself. So decide to document that by capturing a simple image of the building from top to bottom without any techniques. This is like whatPhillippe Halsman talks about.

Helmut Lang on Jurgen Teller

“Jurgen has a very strong individual voice, “Lang says, “which is a rather rare accomplishment these days. I love his ability to say out loud what other people are afraid to even think.” Teller became the documentarian of Lang’s designs: “It was natural to have him express the soul of my work,”

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In the quote it speaks about saying out loud what other people won’t. This is in a society where many use a lazy option due to it being quicker. This elderly man though stood out due to him waiting at the bus stop with his bike and then walking off pushing his bike.  Yet many nowadays decide to travel short distances on vehicles like buses as it uses too much effort and energy. The man though wasn’t prepared to follow the crowd.

Robert Frank

I have been frequently accused of deliberately twisting subject matter to my point of view. Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. Opinion often consists of a kind of criticism. But criticism can come out of love. It is important to see what is invisible to others. Perhaps the look of hope or the look of sadness. Also, it is always the instantaneous reaction to oneself that produces a photograph. – Robert Frank – Page 115 of U.S. Camera 1958, Published by the U.S. Camera Publishing Corp. in 1957.

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In this area you saw the repetition of a quiet area with no one about, no cars nothing although it was untidy due to the rubbish and the graffiti over the gates. Which is usually classed as making a place rundown. Each of these though had the same neat response marked over them showing a sign of wanting a happy life with an outlook that many would turn away from.

Betroit Brech
Photography has become a formidable weapon against truth in the hands of the bourgeoisie. The enormous quantity of picture material spit out daily by the printing press, that consequently appears to possess the character of truth, actually serves only to obscure the facts. The camera can lie just like the type-setting machine. – Betroit Brech, Multiple Views: Logan Grant Essays on Photography, 1983-89 by Daniel P. Younger, ISBN:0826312446. Page:225

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In an area where each of the gates had no parking wrote on them, this image showed a gate which said different this was due to the way I walked meant I only saw the word parking. This was different to the rest as the parking sign showed that you could park in an open garden which had no space an over grown plants.  This was due to what my camera captured as the truth had been altered by it.

Minor White

Let the subject generate its own photographs. Become a camera. – Minor White

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From the place I was stood and the brightness of the light I was able to capture this reflection of the building behind on the side of the bus. This was due to the bus generating it’s own image.

Bill Brandt

I am not interested in extraordinary angles. They can be effective on certain occasions, but I do not feel the necessity for them in my own work. Indeed, I feel the simplest approach can often be most effective. A subject placed squarely in the center of the frame, if attention is not distracted from it by fussy surroundings, has a simple dignity which makes it all more impressive. – Bill Brandt – “Camera in London”, The Focal Press, London 1948, p.13

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This  image I feel has a dignity, this is due to the impression captured from it due to the composition of the image. Here I focused on the one point, which I placed squarely in the centre. This left me with an image that I feel has an interesting outlook and gives a sort of beauty to a simple approach like what Bill Brandt works with.

Robert Capa

If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough. – Robert Capa

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Robert Capa spoke about not getting close enough to an image. This I felt was the case with this image as when I captured images of the area I found that I felt the most interesting feature was the rusty door and handle. This though was made more key when I moved in closer to it.

Paul Caponigro

It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are. – Paul Caponigro – Jensen Brooks. “Talk at the Wilson Center for the Arts, Sep 2007”. LensWork Podcast LW0420

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In an image where people aren’t really clear, I did find that the actions and stance spoke loudly on there own. Here pair of lads is skateboarding. Although their identity is hidden away, you still learn a lot about them. About the fact that they are skateboarders, sporty, the music they like from their fashion and most of all their dedication to be able to learn tricks, which many never manage to do. This shows them in a different light as being two skateboarders to be people who are devoted to what they enjoy.

Jan Groover
You have to follow your nose… to have a mental attitude about what you feel good about and yearn for in a picture. Being able to say “I like it” or “I don’t like it.” That’s first. – Jan Groover, More Joy of Photography by Eastman Kodak (Editor)

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This image although not very interesting holds the sense of what Jan Groover is speaking about to me. This is due to it says I don’t like it as a single piece although it holds something that does make me like it. This I feel is due the composition of the image creating an heavenly unknown feel through the route of documentary everyday scenes up a stair case towards the sky, towards the clouds. Making the image more interesting as then it creates a lot of mystery and recollection of a time that everyone can relate to.

Yousef Karsh

Photography is, to me, more than a means of expression, more than my particular profession – it is a way of life. And if I were asked to choose one word which holds the key to my work I would select ‘light’ – fr light is my language, and it is international, readily understood by any race. It has been my good fortune to welcome before my camera many great men and woman who have made there mark on our generation and will find a place in history. I feel that my life’s work is to interpret the best of my ability, the inner strength, the true character, of these personalities, through the medium of photographic portraiture. I can think of no elation equal to that when something close to my ideal is achieved, through necessarily there must always be a spark of what I call ‘divine discontent’ – the constant striving for near-perfection. In this self-appointed task, which also carries, I believe, a great sense of responsibility, the medium of light is all-important. It is the portraitist’s chief tool, and he can never learn enough about it. – Yousuf Karsh, The Best of Popular Photography by Harvey V. Fondiller, ISBN:0871650371, Page:101

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This scene shows a cold night, yet has street lights guiding the way with little white lights dotted through the trees like snowflakes. Snowflakes linking to the scene that is Christmas, and the lights being Christmas lights that they are distinguishable. A scene of which is understood internationally like with the word light for Yousef Karsh.

August Sander

I have nothing more than sugary photographs with tricks, poses and effects. So allow me to be honest? And tell the truth about our age and it’s people. –August Sander

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Here when walking around capturing images I found this garage with the word “no parking” however although I read it properly at first from paying attention I soon noticed the truth. The honesty spoken about with society today where people depend on being spoon-fed information that people miss a lot of features. Like with the garage door of an industrial business.

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Evaluation

From the whole project I felt that the project was successful for me as in a small amount of time I came out with an outcome that I was happy with. I was also organized in the process of it, which I felt helped me quite well. Along side this I went through the whole process of the project with control over the outcome including how to present it.  In the outcome of learning I also built on my ability in the darkroom and in the equipment used.

 

However, the downfall was that I wasted a lot of time in practicing with the camera due to having problems with it due to being new. I feel that it would have benefitted me if I had of practiced more with the camera first instead of shying away from it due to the size.

 

I did learn though that it benefitted me with explaining how to use the items to others as it stood out more for the process in my mind and built on my confidence in using it. This until now I did not realize so I feel doing this will be more helpful to me in the future.

 

 

 

Layout

For displaying my work I decided to consider different ways in which to show my pieces. Here I came up with a range of ideas that I thought would be suitable for my work.

 

At first I was thinking about mounting the pieces however I thought this wouldn’t be so effective for my work. As I was shown that the presentation was also important as well as the work itself when in a lecture.

 

Ideas

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At the same time I also looked at collaging the pieces. Yet when I pieced them together as a collage, they did look interesting. In the process though, the images lost some of the depth from the way in which they were put together. Compared to what they had if they were put as separate pieces.

 

After I considered window mounting my imagery. However, I wanted my images also being kept together and in a set order. So I decided to move to another idea.

 

My final idea was that of a book. Here my work was kept together in a set order, was laid out neatly and organised.  When looking at the ways in which my images were based. I found that the pieces went better if they were placed out with the images splitting up the range of headshots. This was compared to it becoming monotonous if they were put one after the other.

So to create my book I followed the instructions of this video.

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However this didn’t work well for me so I left them separate.

Evaluation

My assignment was based on looking at stereotypes but conveying the features that people are stereotyped on. Along with asking is it down to a stereotypical basis that they appear the way they are or is there another reason. For this I used a Mamiya RB67 and Mamiya 7 film camera with 120mm film along with using a Canon 1000D digital camera.

When doing this I had a few difficulties in that I had never used the cameras before. I also had a few difficulties with focusing the images in the darkroom and I didn’t know a location that was suitable for the shoot. These problems though were solved as I understood how to set-up the camera when talking people through it. Due to this the more people I explained it to the more successful I became at setting it up. I also understood how to set up the focus properly more after having it explained to me. This was with also finding areas that were local and would be suitable for shoots.

The assignment was successful as I was pleased with my final images. I learnt how to use two film cameras, a negative scanning machine and to create stronger pieces in the darkroom. I felt that my images were also strong so I’m quite happy with them. In all though I feel that the project worked quite well for me.

If I did it again though I would either elaborate on the project more so to cover more points with it or be more experimental with it. Even though I’m happy with my theme I would try a different theme so to try something new or look at the project in a different way.

Final Images

I spent some more time in the darkroom the past couple of days and came up with some prints that I was completely happy with. In this time I also examined the original prints that I had created and decided to reprint some again so to make them look more effective and visually appealing than it was before. From this I also came up with more tests and incorrect prints.

After doing the shoots and time in the darkroom I came up with some more tests and chose my select prints. These I felt happy with and covered the idea that I had in my head.

These are my final images.

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Letter 1

Dear Deana,

 

How are you? Have you been up to much?

 

I have just started university, which was fun I was looking forward to meeting everyone in person and trying new stuff. Don’t think I’ve really had any nerves about it just more of looking forward to it. To be able to try new things, it always excites me so hopefully this will work out well. It is going to be interesting to see how the year pans out as it is.

 

The photography will be fun in a new place that I am not really used to so that will be an adventure. Plus being that I don’t really know many people in the area I have thrown myself into the deep end. I just hope that I can handle being in such a situation that I have never been in before. My plan is though that if this goes well for me like I think it will then I might push it further in future and go even more distances away from home and in later life do a bit of travelling.

 

As for the subject itself, I already enjoy photography, as you know from the fact I have past knowledge of it. I’m thinking of trying new things that I have never done before so to add more strings to my bow and to what I can try. I just feel like I’m going to give my whole and do as much as I can so to be able to look back at trying stuff that’s new and not passing off the chance.

 

At the moment I have decided to see this new change as being a way of making a difference to what I do and myself. A challenge for me, just as long as I don’t over do it. So I’m starting at the moment with confidence. This is going well already! I also plan to get fitter by being involved with sports and going out too enjoy myself more often. Along with being healthier, I don’t know how well this will work out for me though. I hope it does at least.

 

I am looking into doing more stuff associated with music when it comes to photography and music in general. I am already getting more into drawings and graphic design so to keep up what I’ve already learnt in my spare time and as a relaxing past time. This is alongside my plans for taking up driving again and learning to play guitar. I guess I need to become organized and control my finances really well at this rate. It may be tricky for me but worth a try I guess.

 

There is so much I want to do though I just hope I am able to get round to it all. If I keep at it then I should be able to I think. Anyhow hope to speak to you soon. Bye for now and good luck with everything.

 

Deana

Shoot 3

For my final shoot I shot a select few of my images then compared which I preferred, the original shoot or the later. This was done by replicating the previous shoot that I did with assistance from Kerrie Caine again. However, I got some images based on different angles and distances along with removing select items and changing the area of the where the main focus.

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Darkroom

Following on from doing my shoots I have now been in the darkroom and done my prints. Here I set the enlarger so to have the light cover the easel so that when I put the paper on it all the area would be covered and exposed. I then selected the amount of light that I wanted available at a time and the amount of time I wanted it available for. These were connected together through the timer and enlarger.

From this I used a small strip of paper that had different lengths of time and exposures. These are my tests. At the same time I also got some images that were incorrect.

Tests

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When doing the images I felt that some of the shots were not what I had in mind for my select images. Due to this I did an extra shoot so to get some more images in the way in which I wanted.

Shoot 2

From shoot 1 not being so successful I had to do another shoot. Here I had Kerrie Caine assist me. She hadn’t used the camera before either but since the previous shoot I had had more practice with it so could work it better. From this I got images that were more successful and that I could use for my imagery in this assignment. This means that from here I can now go in the darkroom and come up with some prints.

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